Troy Davis was scheduled to be executed by the state of Georgia in July. Thankfully, he was granted a stay of execution by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles in light of an intense international campaign calling attention to the injustices in Troy’s case. Soon after, the Georgia Supreme Court agreed to hear oral arguments that could lead to a new trial for Troy.
It might seem obvious after the successful fight to save Kenneth Foster from the clutches of the Texas death machine that abolitionists should organize around specific cases as part of the struggle against capital punishment.
But questions do arise from this issue in the abolitionist community. Some organizations argue that to take on specific cases of death row prisoner shows preference for some prisoners over others-- taking the focus off the system as a whole.
In one of its few humane 5-to-4 rulings this term, on June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the execution of 49-year old Texas prisoner Scott Panetti. Reaffirming its decision in Ford v. Wainwright, which banned the death penalty for the mentally ill, the Court concluded that Panetti suffered from severe schizophrenia, rendering him unfit to be executed.
Why the case ever reached the Court is a good question. Anyone in attendance at the original trial could see that something was wrong with Scott Panetti.
Rodney Reed, who has been on Texas death row for the nine years, recently won a significant ruling by the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA).
Rodney was convicted in 1996 of killing Stacey Stites. The evidence against him at the time was flimsy at best, and since his conviction, witnesses have come forward to testify in Rodney’s behalf.
On June 6, the CCA asked for briefs from both the defense and prosecutorial sides on questions of actual innocence. The CCA will review the briefs, but there is absolutely no time limit in which they have to make a decision.
I wanted to thank you all (wherever you are) for your good work on this successful campaign, so that a wonderful human being lives, against all odds.
I only have one other client on death row, and so I will now soon turn my attention as a lawyer to that client and my other cases. But before I did, I thought I’d relate some thoughts to you in the hope that the remarkable confluence we’ve experienced in this campaign can be reproduced in future cases, with just as much success.
By: pardoned Illinois death row prisoner Stanley Howard
The conservative bloc of the U.S. Supreme Court is on an all-out, out-of-control rampage.
Making up this far-right bloc are Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito. On the other side are Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.