THE TIME IS NOW TO SAVE TROY DAVIS

This is a special action alert to stop the execution of Troy Davis. While a date has not been set, it could be at any time in the coming weeks or months. Please read through this action alert and think of ways you can join with us to help save Troy.

SAD NEWS

On Wednesday of this week, Troy learned that his mother had passed away the day before in her sleep. Troy has a very loving and close family. No doubt this news is devastating to him and his relatives. Martina, Troy’s sister, who we have all grown to love, continues to battle for her own life–she has been in and out of the hospital for cancer treatments, and her regime of chemotherapy has made her very weak.

Our hearts go out to this family who has suffered so much. Services are being arranged and the funeral is likely to be on Monday. Flowers can be sent to the Sidney A. Jones Funeral Home (124 W. Park Ave., Savannah, GA 31401). If anyone wants to make a monetary contribution, checks can be sent to Martina Correia (payable to her) for De’Juan Correia’s college fund–Martina’s address is 169 Parkview Rd., Savannah, GA 31419. The CEDP will be sending flowers and a contribution to the fund.

BACKGROUND ON TROY’S CASE

On August 19, 1989, in the early morning hours, Mark Allen MacPhail, a 27-year-old Savannah police officer, was working off duty as a security guard when he went out in to a parking lot to assist a homeless man who was being attacked. MacPhail was shot twice and later died.

According to police, eyewitnesses to this shooting identified Troy as the culprit. Troy was later convicted and sentenced to death based on this testimony. No murder weapon or physical evidence ever linked Troy to the crime. Troy has always maintained his innocence.

Years after Troy was convicted, new evidence surfaced showing that one of the nine witnesses who labeled Troy as the shooter may have, in fact, committed the crime himself, and deflected blame onto Troy in order to avoid prosecution. Seven of the eight witnesses have since recanted their original testimony, with many saying they were threatened and coerced by police to implicate Troy.

For more information look at our fact sheet on Troy’s case.

TROY IS IN IMMINENT DANGER

Troy Davis has been on death row in Georgia for nearly 20 years and has faced three execution dates in recent years, each of them halted. His appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court was recently denied, clearing the way for Georgia to set a new execution date in the coming days, weeks or months.

Last June, Troy had an evidentiary hearing that had been mandated by the Supreme Court. This was encouraging because the Supreme Court rarely makes these kinds of rulings. Activists had some hope that with the hearing the truth would finally be allowed to come out, and Troy could win a new trial.

At the hearing, witnesses who had once testified against Troy came forward to recant their previous testimony, explaining how they were pressured and threatened by police to say Troy killed Mark MacPhail. A brand new witness also testified that he knew Troy didn’t do it because he SAW who did do it. But even with this compelling evidence, Judge William Moore was not convinced. He wrote that if a jury were to hear the evidence that was presented at the hearing, they would still convict Troy. This is just nonsense.

But this is how our legal system works. This judge gets to decide what a jury would think of the evidence, and while he admitted the case against Troy was “not ironclad”, he still denied Troy his appeal.

The recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling upheld Judge Moore’s decision, but gave no comment or explanation about to why they ruled against Troy.

As Martina Correria told a reporter at the Washington Post, “Sending the case back to Savannah for a hearing, we knew it was a long shot because it’s sending it back to the same judges and same prosecutors who convicted Troy, and of course, they’re not going to admit that they lied and had misconduct in this case. So we knew this was an uphill battle, just as all his hearings have been an uphill battle.”

SOUTHERN INJUSTICE IN ACTION

While in the past, racism in the South came in the form of Black people being hung from trees, today, we see a different form of lynching taking place–cloaked in the idea of fairness (Troy had a trial) and with a veil of checks and balances (his case was reviewed by the Supreme Court and there was an evidentiary hearing).

Yet all of this is a sham. No physical evidence links Troy to the crime. Many of the witnesses who were the main evidence for convicting Troy have now recanted their testimony, saying they were coerced and threatened by police. Those same witness recantations cannot be the basis for a new trial? Why not? If Troy was a white son of a senator, would the recantations be good enough?

Racism cannot be separated out from what is happening in the case of Troy Davis. In fact, racism has everything to do with how the death penalty is carried out in this country. Southern states where slavery was still legal 150 years ago carry over 80 percent of all executions. And in cases where the murder victim is white, the defendant has a much higher change of getting charged with the death penalty than if the victim was Black.

Troy Davis is a Black man from the South who was convicted of killing a white police officer. Usually, a case like this would never get a second glance because the deck is so stacked against him. But that is far from the situation with Troy. Millions of people in this country and around the world are familiar with Troy’s case. Millions have come to believe he deserves a new trial. Millions believe he must not be executed.

Martina Correra has spearheaded the national and international efforts to save her brother Troy, and her efforts have slowed the gears from moving forward. But now the death machine is about to start moving again against Troy. This time it is going to take all of our voices, all of our action and everything we can muster to say no to the death penalty, no to the execution of Troy Davis, and no to this modern-day lynching.

LETHAL INJECTION DRUGS IN GEORGIA SEIZED

Another factor effecting Troy’s case is the national spotlight on Southern states and their illegal acquisition of drugs to be used in lethal injections. The Drug Enforcement Administration has seized Georgia’s supply of lethal injection drugs as it investigates how these drugs were imported.

It is clear that state officials will go to alarming, even illegal, lengths to keep the death machine moving. We must be clear with our message: There is no right way to do the wrong thing! Whatever drug cocktail they come up with does not make the racist, anti-poor death penalty a humane form of justice.

Read more about lethal injection in this New Abolitionist story.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT FOR TROY?

Troy has a clemency petition before the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles. This board can vote to grant clemency, which would mean either commuting Troy’s sentence to life or life without the possibility of parole, or they can deny him clemency, which would clear the way for Troy to be executed.

The current parole board is made up of five people, three of whom are new to their positions since the last time Troy’s case was heard (in 2008, the parole board voted against Troy). All five members were appointed by former Gov. Sonny Perdue. The current governor of Georgia is Republican Nathan Deal. He has no authority under Georgia law to grant clemency without a recommendation of the board. But he could, technically, reject a recommendation of clemency and authorize Troy’s execution.

In conjunction with Amnesty International and other groups, we are launching a petition drive to show the five board members that Troy has many, many supporters. Here is some background information on the parole board members.

— Gale Bucker was appointed in 2005. Her term expires on December 31, 2011. She started her career as a Chatsworth police officer and worked her way up the chain, working as a Georgia Bureau of Investigations officer. She has a long career in law enforcement and also worked as an aide for three different governors.

— Robert Keller was appointed in 2007. His term will last for two or more years. He has served in many different capacities during his career, including as a state and federal prosecutor in Georgia.

— James Donald was appointed in 2010. His term will last for two or more years. He served as a prison commissioner for the Georgia Department of Corrections.

— Albert Murray was appointed in 2010. His term will last for two or more years. He has worked in the Tennessee Department of Corrections and the youth division within the Georgia Department of Corrections.

— Terry Barnard was appointed in 2010. His term will last for two or more years. He served as a Georgia state representative.

Because of the seriousness of this crime and because a police officer was killed, it means we will need to show a lot of support for Troy in order to persuade the board to vote in favor of clemency for Troy. Attached are petitions to the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles and the governor of Georgia urging clemency for Troy. When completed, please send to: CEDP, P.O. Box 25730, Chicago IL 60647, or fax them to us at 773-955-4842.

POSSIBLE ACTIONS FOR TROY 

— Hold a petitioning event in your community for Troy (use the attached petition and Troy Davis fact sheet).

— Set up a table with pictures of Troy and big signs saying “Stop the Execution of Troy Davis” and “Why is Georgia About to Execute an Innocent Man?” You can hand out fact sheets about Troy and gather signatures on the petitions.

— Hold an action/speakout for Troy. Consider if you can contact other groups to help you in holding this kind of protest. — Write an article about Troy that can be printed in your school newspaper or website, your church bulletin or your union newsletter.

— Make a presentation about Troy’s case to your church, your union or your school, and follow it up by getting people to sign the petition. — Ask local radio shows to do a feature on Troy.

— Consider changing the name or profile picture on your Facebook page to “Save Troy Davis,” or something similar.

— When a national day of action for Troy is called, get involved with organizing yourself and others to go to Georgia or hold an action in your community that day (we will notify everyone as soon as a date is decided).

— Post this CEDP alert to other activist listserves.

— If you think of other ideas, email us at [email protected].

PETITIONS FOR TROY

Again, check out and download our fact sheet on Troy and you can also download our petition for use at tablings or events. There is also an online petition at Amnesty’s website that we encourage everyone to sign.

TWEETS FOR TROY

Amnesty International is recommending that those with twitter accounts send out a Troy Davis tweet. Here’s an example of what you could use:7 out of 9 eyewitnesses recanted. No physical evidence. Stop the execution of Troy Davis http://bit.ly/SaveTroy #TroyDavis

FIND OUT MORE INFORMATION ON TROY’S CASE

Justice for Troy Davis

Amnesty International’s Troy Davis Page

Troy Davis on Facebook

CEDP CHAPTERS TO CONTACT TO GET INVOLVED FOR TROY

Austin, Texas • 512-494-0667 • [email protected] Bay Area, Calif. • 510-333-7966 • [email protected] Chicago–Hyde Park • 773-955-4841 • [email protected]Delaware • 302-545-7023 • [email protected] Denton, Texas • 956-432-7991 • [email protected] New York City–Harlem • 347-853-2758 • [email protected]

Contact Marlene Martin: [email protected] or Randi Jones Hensley: [email protected] if you would like some help on getting an action going for Troy or for any idea’s you have to help Troy.

Take Action for Troy Davis!

If you were recently directed here (as of September 2011) please go to the more current organizing update for Troy dated September 7, which also links to newly updated materials.  The update can also be found at the top of our home page.

Download the CEDP’s fact sheet and set up a meeting or tabling at your school, church, or union hall to inform people about the case.  Collect signatures on the petition and clemency letter at tables and from friends, family members or coworkers.

Sign and share the online petition for Troy at:  www.takeaction.amnestyusa.org

Change your Facebook profile picture to a photo of Troy.  Like our page on Facebook for Troy called We Are Troy Davis:  Stop the Execution.

Organize a speakout for Troy.  Gather friends, activists, and concerned community members to a prominent place in your town to show support for Troy with banners, signs, and materials about his case.

Write a letter to the editor, article for your school newspaper, or blurb in your church bulletin about Troy’s case.  Contact local radio stations and ask them to cover the case.

Call Georgia officials and tell them to stop the execution. Urge friends and family to do the same.

Governor Nathan Deal: 404.656.1776

Board of Pardons and Paroles: 404.656.5651

Make a short video that explains why you support Troy Davis.  These are being collected and broadcast on youtube. Contact[email protected] for instructions.

Check our site for updates and information regarding a national day of action. E-mail [email protected] with questions, concerns, or ideas.  Also please keep us updated about what’s happening for Troy in your community!

TroyClemencyLetterUpdated.pdf

Troy Davis Speaks Out!

Interview from death row.

By: Marlene Martin and Troy Davis

Troy with family

This is an interview with Georgia death row prisoner Troy Anthony Davis, who has been wrongfully incarcerated on death row for nearly 20 years. As of this writing, Troy’s life is in grave danger.

In spite of a court hearing ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court, during which compelling and convincing evidence of Troy’s innocence was presented, Troy has had his motions for a new trial denied again. U.S. District Judge William Moore admitted that the case against Troy was not “ironclad,” even as he rejected Troy’s plea for a new trial. And in March 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court shamefully declined to step in and rectify this miscarriage of justice, leaving the lower courts’ ruling in place.

This case screams out “unfairness”—yet Troy has never been able to get evidence of his innocence presented to a jury. There has never been any physical evidence—no murder weapon, no fingerprints, no DNA—that pointed to Troy as the person who shot and killed Officer Mark MacPhail in a Burger King parking lot in Savannah, Ga., in 1989. The evidence against Troy comes down to nine witnesses presented by prosecutors at Troy’s trial—and seven of them have since recanted their original testimony, with most saying they had been coerced by the police to implicate Troy.

As of this writing, little stands in the way of Georgia setting an execution date, which would be Troy’s fourth. Executions were on hold in Georgia while state officials tried to figure out which drugs should be used in lethal injection executions. But a new “killing drug regime” has been decided on, and executions are likely to start up again.

We need to act now to spread the word far and wide. We need to let Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole know that Troy Davis deserves to live.

Marlene Martin interviewed Troy Davis by mail for the New Abolitionist.

Troy, we heard the sad news that you lost your mom recently, someone who was very supportive of you over the years. We want to express our sympathy at this difficult time. How are you coping with the loss?

The loss of my mother was a complete shock, very painful at first, but people need to realize she was a woman of great faith and so am I. I gave that pain to God—I can carry it no more. Those who walk by faith understand.

My mother was very strong and religious. She treated everyone she met like family and led by example. If I could trade her for another I would refuse to do so because she was one of a kind—“a giant in a small body” and “a walking angel.”

The U.S. Supreme Court recently turned down your appeal, leaving in place Judge William Moore’s decision not allowing you a new trial. What is your reaction to this decision?

The Supreme Court was hoping Judge Moore would grant me a new trial so it wouldn’t have to. However, within the first 10 minutes of my hearing, I sensed tension and bias from Judge Moore. I expected nothing less coming from a court in Savannah.

The courts keep passing my case along because my case exposes everything flawed about the death penalty. No court or judge wants to be responsible for allowing this case to force authorities to end the death penalty and have to worry about a floodgate of innocence being revealed.

In June 2010, you were finally allowed an evidentiary hearing where evidence of your innocence was heard before a judge—including recanted testimony from several witnesses, as well as new witnesses who said another man, Sylvester Coles, admitted he had committed the crime. Why isn’t this enough for you to get a new trial? 

It is enough to grant me a new trial. In fact, it’s more than enough. But this is more about the system than my innocence. Research will show that the Georgia state Supreme Court and 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals have overturned hundreds of cases with just one or two recanted witnesses. Georgia feels it’s better to kill me than admit I’m innocent.

Ask yourselves how can someone be convicted and face execution with no evidence against them? If the district attorney had the right man, then out of all the physical evidence they have, how come my DNA and fingerprints don’t match any of it?

If the recanted witnesses are lying, then why hasn’t the state produced the interrogation tapes for all seven? The state claims it doesn’t have interrogation tapes of any of the seven witnesses who have recanted. They only turned over two tapes—one of Sylvester Coles pointing the finger at me and the other of someone they never called at trial. Why don’t they show the handwritten statements of these witnesses? Because it would prove Troy Davis was and continues to be framed by Savannah and now the state of Georgia.

The media isn’t allowed to come into the prison and interview you. What would you say to the media that they seem to be so determined doesn’t get out?

The truth about my case, about the judicial system, and about the prison system in Georgia. Since I’ve been on death row, I’ve witnessed several people who got their sentence and convictions overturned.

People on death row are painted as monsters—as cold-blooded killers. If the cameras were rolling, what would people when they saw Troy Davis interviewed on film? 

They would see their brother, son, father. Someone beaten, but strong. Someone they know. What would confuse them is the fact that after all I’ve been through, I’m still smiling. They would see a human being who refused to give up, who refuses to hate and who loves life. They would see the humble face of innocence.

You have often said this case is much bigger than you. What do you mean by that?

My case is about “Justice denied to the poor and innocent. My case brings a face to injustice by showing how so many innocent people are being framed and denied justice. My case tells the world why the death penalty and this system of death needs to be abolished all over the world.

If you were white and the son of a senator, do you think the evidence presented at your evidentiary hearing would have been enough to win you a new trial?

Yes. However, I would not have even been indicted in the first place with such a lack of evidence. What this says is that there is still bias and racism in the criminal justice system when it comes to the poor and people of color. Had I been the son of a senator, I would have never been arrested, not until every “i” was dotted and every “t” was crossed.

What would you like for your supporters to know? What should they be doing to try to save your life?

If we never give up, we can win. We need to let our elected officials know that they work for the citizens of this country, and as citizens, we refuse to stand around and let innocent people continue to be abused by the system. We will not stand for innocent people being executed, tortured or tossed into prison anymore. I’m alive because God placed it in your hearts to get involved and be the solution that erases this problem.

So many people have joined together to free me, and it moves my heart in a joyous way to feel so much love and know one day that the world will celebrate with my family as I walk free. Then I can truly help change the system so that humanity and justice can really overcome evil and injustice in a system that has killed too many innocent in the name of justice.

 My supporters can write U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, asking to appoint a special investigator to my case. Encourage religious leaders to get out the churches, mosques, etc., and speak out. Write letters, sign petitions, tweet and make calls to Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and the Georgia Parole Board and media to stop this pending execution and grant me my freedom, new trial or clemency.

Please be a voice for me and get involved. Saving my life will save thousands of others just like me. You’re making a big difference.

A voice is just a whisper in the wind unless it is used to speak up for a cause that brings positive change to the voiceless. Don’t expect change—create it by getting involved. I’m already free because of every voice speaking up on my behalf.

Thank you and God bless you all.

Troy Anthony Davis’ execution set for Sept. 21

By: Bill Rankin
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Georgia Department of Corrections has set the execution of Troy Anthony Davis for 7 p.m. on Sept. 21.

Davis’ appeals are exhausted. He is expected to once again ask the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant him clemency. The board has previously denied that request.The agency set the time and date a day after a Chatham County judge signed a death warrant for Davis, who was convicted of killing an off-duty Savannah police officer in 1989.

Davis, 41, was convicted of killing Officer Mark Allen MacPhail as MacPhail ran to the aid of a homeless man being pistol-whipped outside a Burger King.

The case has attracted international attention because a number of key prosecution witnesses either recanted or backed off their trial testimony. Other witnesses have come forward and said another man at the scene told them he was the actual killer.

Amnesty International, the human rights organization, called on the parole board to commute Davis’ death sentence, saying doubts about Davis’ guilt have never been erased.

“The board stayed Davis’ execution in 2007, stating that capital punishment was not an option when doubts about guilt remained,” said Larry Cox, executive director for AIUSA. “Since then two more execution dates have come and gone, and there is still little clarity, much less proof, that Davis committed any crime. Amnesty International respectfully asks the Board to commute Davis’ sentence to life and prevent Georgia from making a catastrophic mistake.”

In August, a federal judge emphatically rejected Davis’ claims that he was wrongly convicted. In a 172-page order, U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. said Davis failed to prove his innocence during an extraordinary hearing in June ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

MacPhail, 27 and a father of two, was gunned down before he could draw his weapon. After the killing, Sylvester “Redd” Coles went to the police with his lawyer and told them he and Davis were at the scene. At trial, he testified he was fleeing the scene when shots were fired, leaving Davis as the culprit. Coles denied being the triggerman.

At the June hearing, Davis’ lawyers wanted to call witnesses who had given sworn statements that Coles had told them after the trial he was the actual killer. But Moore did not allow these witnesses to testify because Davis’ lawyers did not subpoena Coles to testify. If they had, the judge said, he could have tested the validity of Coles’ alleged confessions.

If Coles had in fact confessed to these witnesses, Moore suggested there could be an explanation –“he believed that his reputation as a dangerous individual would be enhanced if he took credit for murdering Officer MacPhail.” Davis failed to prove the alleged confessions were truthful, Moore noted.

Of the seven witnesses Davis’ legal team say recanted their trial testimony, “only one is a meaningful, credible recantation.” The value of this recantation — given by a jailhouse snitch who testified Davis told him he killed MacPhail — is diminished because it was already clear the witness testified falsely at trial, the judge said.

Moore answered one question posed to him by the U.S. Supreme Court. He found that executing an innocent person would violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban against cruel and unusual punishment.

“However, Mr. Davis is not innocent,” the U.S. district judge wrote in August.

Chatham County Superior Court Judge Penny Freesemann signed the death warrant Tuesday.

_  Staff writer Christopher Seward contributed to this report

What you can do to SAVE TROY DAVIS!

The Parole Board has DENIED. This is awful, horrible, sickening news. Yet, there are a few avenues left  – the parole board could reverse the decision, there is a petition asking the Savannah DA to withdraw the death warrant or the Supreme Court could step in. No matter what we should express our absolute outrage to the Board of Pardons and Parole in Georgia so keep faxing, keep calling, keep emailing!

Call (404.656.5651), e-mail ([email protected]), and fax (404.651.8502) the Board of Pardons and Paroles and voice your support for Troy!  Don’t forget to fax the petitions and letters you collect to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole today and tomorrow!

Troy Davis has received an execution date of September 21st.  Even though we at the CEDP expected this awful news, it still feels like a shock.  It is an utter outrage that Georgia is gearing up to murder an innocent man. Troy has no appeals left, so his life lies in the hands of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. President Obama could also intervene on Troy’s behalf.

We just have two weeks, but the fight is far from over.  Troy has already fought back three execution dates with the help of an outpouring of public pressure. His sister, Martina Corriea, has spearheaded the national and international efforts to save her brother and her efforts have slowed the gears from moving forward. But now the death machine is moving again against Troy.

This time it is going to take all of our voices, all of our action, and everything we can muster to say NO to the death penalty, NO to the execution of Troy Davis, and NO to this modern-day lynching. The time to act is NOW!

We know folks are eager to get to work fighting for Troy’s life. Here are some ideas of things you can get started on right away:

Hold a petitioning event in your community for Troy. Think through meetings, events, church services, famer’s markets, bus stops, busy intersections, etc that might be good places to collect signatures for Troy.  Download the CEDP’s fact sheet, petition and clemency letter here on our site.

Fax the petitions and letters you collect to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole.  And contact them directly to voice your opposition to Troy’s execution.  Call (404.656.5651), e-mail ([email protected]), and fax (404.651.8502) the Board of Pardons and Paroles and voice your support for Troy. 

Use social media sites like facebook and twitter to share Amnesty’s online petition, news about Troy, and show support by changing your profile picture to an image of Troy.

Write a letter to the editor, article for your school newspaper, or blurb in your church bulletin about Troy’s case. Contact local radio stations and ask them to cover the case. 

Organize a speakout for Troy. Gather friends, activists, and concerned community members to a prominent place in your town to show support for Troy with banners, signs, and materials about his case. Check in with Amnesty chapters at campuses in your area and see if they have a speakout planned.

Make a short video that explains why you support Troy Davis. These are being collected and broadcast over youtube. Contact [email protected] for more information.

Keep us informed about what activities you are planning in your community. We will help spread information about petitioning events, speakouts, etc.

 SAVE TROY DAVIS!

Troy Davis solidarity organizing in CEDP Chapters

Date: September 10, 2011 6:45 pm
Location: In the U.S.

CEDP chapters are beginning to plan actions for Troy Davis over the couple of weeks.  We will update folks here as any new events are planned.  Here is what we know is happening in chapters so far:

Austin:

Tablings for Troy:  Wednesday, Sept. 14 at 11 AM on the West Mall at University of Texas and Sunday, September 18 at Wheatsville Coop

Stop the Execution of Troy Davis: Solidarity Rally in Austin

Friday, September 16 · 5:30pm – 8:30pm

Texas State Capitol at 11th and Congress

Bay Area:

Tabling for Troy on Tuesday, Sep 13th at 5:00 pm at Lake Merritt BART Station, Oakland, CA

Global Day of Action for Troy Davis

Friday, September 16 · 4:00pm – 6:00pm

Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay Street, near City Center/12th St BART

Chicago:

Rally to Save Troy Davis

Friday, September 16 · 5:00pm – 6:00pm

Prudential Plaza, 130 E Randolph St

Denton:

CEDP Potluck for Troy Davis

Wednesday, September 14 · 7:00pm – 10:00pm

2228 Lookout LN

Solidarity for Troy Davis Rally

Friday, September 16 · 7:30pm – 9:00pm

The Square

110 West Hickory Street

New Jersey/Delaware:

Protest to STOP THE EXECUTION of Troy Davis!!

Friday, September 16 · 12:00pm – 3:00pm

Student Center Patio

Rowan University, Glassboro, New Jersey

NYC:

TAKE ACTION TO SAVE TROY DAVIS!

Join the Campaign to End the Death Penalty

Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011 at 7:00 pm

St. Mary’s Church in Harlem, 521 West 126th Street (between Amsterdam and Broadway)

A call to action from Troy Davis

By: Marlene Martin
New Abolitionist
Thursday, September 15, 2011

AFTER MANY long years of fighting, we are now down to the last few days to save the life of Georgia death row prisoner Troy Davis, who is scheduled to be executed on September 21.

On Tuesday, I received a letter from Troy in the mail and wanted to share it. At first, I wondered why the penmanship seemed scrawled. Then I read his note, and I understood. He had to write it using only pieces of a pen. They have taken everything from him except his eyeglasses.

Yet his call to action is strong and mighty:

Hello Marlene,
I received your letter. However, they took all of my mail, my address book and the only property I have is my eyeglasses. I’m writing with the filter of a pen because I’m not allowed the entire pen. With all these security rules, they only allowed me to write down your address. I don’t remember everything you said in your letter, but I wanted to thank you, your family and CEDP for everything.

It is time for action, so please encourage everyone to reach out to politicians, ministers and grassroots organizations to contact the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole and the governor to grant me relief and stop this scheduled execution. Get involved in this movement to put an end to the death penalty. Come to Georgia and take a stand for justice. Let them know I’m blessed and my faith in God is stronger than ever. Now we have a chance to join together and be heard loud and clear that Georgia needs to stop this execution of an innocent man and end the death penalty altogether.

Excuse my writing but its hard using the funnel only. God bless you and keep up the great work you’re doing.

Sincerely, Troy Davis

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THESE NAIL-biting moments are all that is left to try to convince three of the five members of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to grant clemency for Troy, who has run out of his legal appeals.

If the board does grant clemency, Troy will receive either a life sentence or life without the possibility of parole sentence. This “good” outcome has its own cruelties that we will continue to fight against as soon as we win it–but first we have to win it!

The way the system works in Georgia is that the parole board makes decisions on clemency, not the governor–while he appoints the members of the parole board, the governor has no clemency authorization and can’t override the board’s decisions. President Barack Obama doesn’t have powers here either–he can’t grant a pardon in a state criminal case. Of course, if he were to weigh in with vocal support for Troy, that would have a tremendous impact. But Troy’s supporters fear that isn’t likely.

The board will hold a clemency hearing in Troy’s case on Monday, September 19, in Atlanta. This could last for hours–one previous clemency hearing for Troy lasted 10 hours. The board will likely make its decision at the end of that day. Activists will hold a vigil outside the hearing all day long.

We don’t know how this struggle will go, but as Darby Tillis, a former death row prisoner from Illinois, told me yesterday, “We must continue to be strong, remain vigilant and fight to the bitter end.”

A strong show of support for Troy, both for the Global Day of Action called for September 16 in Atlanta and other cities around the world, and for the vigil outside the clemency hearing on September 19, will be extremely important. These could be the very things that tip the balance.

So far, the response to this threat to Troy’s life has been amazing. By all accounts, there will be thousands of people marching in the streets of Atlanta for Troy on September 16, and then attending a rally afterward in the famous Ebenezer Baptist Church, the church where Martin Luther King Jr. was a pastor.

Rev. Jesse Jackson will make the trip down to Atlanta with his son; Troy’s family will be attending; former prisoners will be there, including Lawrence Hayes, Darby Tillis and Mark Clements of the Campaign; and so will members of Amnesty International, the NAACP (which says 2,500 of its members will march) and many other social justice and campus groups. A contingent of Campaign to End the Death Penalty activists will travel to Atlanta to march, too.

Banner drops in support of Troy will take place on college campuses in the lead-up to the march, as well as continuous petitioning and flyering in Georgia and around the country to get the word out to everyone to come out and show their support for Troy on September 16.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

THE OTHER day, I called Troy’s sister, Martina Correia, hoping to get a few words with her. Martina has been the heart and soul of the struggle to save Troy over many years, even while she was suffering terribly with breast cancer.

When I called, her son answered the phone and explained that she was too ill to talk–that she was, in fact, on her way back into the hospital. I asked him to pass a message of love and support along to Martina, and assure her we were doing all we could to mobilize people to defend Troy.

Her son then told me he had the phone on speaker, and I heard Martina say in a weak voice, “Hello Marlene–thank you.” I burst into tears hearing her voice. This strong woman is the reason the struggle for Troy is as big as it is–because of her tireless work for years on end, speaking at meetings large and small, and traveling every week to visit Troy. Her brother has been on death row for 19 years–do the math, that’s a lot of visits, and death row is hours away from her home.

I thought about how Martina was always ready to speak to anyone and tell the truth about Troy. She always answered her phone, even one time she did so with laryngitis. Even now, she was making sure her son was taking the calls.

I thought about Martina’s son, who is now in college–what he has had to go through seeing his mother going back in the hospital, being too sick to visit her brother, and having to deal with the threat of the execution of his cherished uncle Troy.

But when Martina heard me, she had nothing but determination in her weak voice, telling me I shouldn’t cry and that everything was good.

Someone who visited Troy recently said he was in good spirits and thankful for everything every one was doing for him–and that he urged everyone to keep up the pressure. But Troy had one weak moment, and that’s when he spoke about his sister Martina–that’s when the tears came to his eyes.

As Darby Tillis told me, “This man has faced three previous execution dates. Three times he has been through this torture–they just can’t kill him.”

But we know they can. If Martina and all the people who rallied for Troy, whether in the courtroom or in the streets, had not been steadfast in standing for him over these years, he would already be dead.

Now we all have to step up and do what we can–to stand up for Troy, to be Martina’s legs, and to demand clemency and an end to the death penalty.

ALL OUT FOR TROY!

WHAT YOU CAN DO

A Global Day of Solidarity for Troy has been called for September 16. In Atlanta, supporters will meet at Woodruff Park downtown at 6 p.m. Or organize an action in your own city–find out what’s going on locally at the Campaign to End the Death Penalty website.

Get everyone you can to contact the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles and support Troy. Call 404-656-5651, e-mail [email protected] and fax 404-651-8502.

Devote time at a meeting of your union or organization to spread the word about Troy and get people to show their support. Consider whether you and fellow activists can hold a speakout for Troy–and try to write an article for your school newspaper or church bulletin, and contact local radio stations and other news outlets to urge them to cover this case. Hold a petitioning event in your community for Troy. Fact sheets, petitions, and clemency letters are available at the CEDP website.

You can write to Troy at: Troy Anthony Davis #657378, P.O. Box 3877 GDCP, G-2-39, Jackson, GA 30233. You can write to Troy’s sister Martina at: Martina Correia, 169 Parkview Road, Savannah, GA 31419-9671.

A TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE: TROY HAS BEEN DENIED CLEMENCY!

Author: Marlene Martin

A TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE: TROY HAS BEEN DENIED CLEMENCY

Troy Anthony Davis has been denied clemency by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole. This means that Troy could be executed tomorrow at 7 p.m. if the board does not reverse its decision, and if no court intervenes.

Members of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty will not idly sit by while a murder is carried out in the name of the state of Georgia. We will be holding speakouts and rallies to demand that this execution be stopped and to urge the pardons board to reverse its decision. We encourage everyone to come out if they can and continue to phone, fax and e-mail messages to the board.

Over 1 million people have signed petitions in support of clemency for Troy. More than 3,000 people marched and rallied for Troy just five days ago in Atlanta–the largest demonstration of support for any death row prisoner since the protests to stop the execution of Stan Tookie Williams in California in 2005. Global actions of solidarity were held all over the world, including Germany, Hong Kong, Belgium and Nigeria, and more than 300 actions that took place across the U.S.

Troy is supported by numerous civil rights leaders, including NAACP president Ben Jealous, Jesse Jackson of Rainbow Push, and Al Sharpton of the National Action Network. Other prominent supporters include President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former FBI Director William Sessions, and former federal prosecutor and death penalty supporter Bob Barr.

The question that has to be asked is: Why can’t the members of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles see what over a million people have?

No physical evidence connects Troy to the murder for which he was condemned to death, and seven of the nine witnesses against him at his original trial have recanted their original testimony against Troy. Brenda Davis, one of the jurors in that trial, told CNN in 2009, “If I knew then what I know now, Troy Davis would not be on death row. The verdict would be ‘not guilty.'”

Why isn’t this good enough to win clemency for Troy? For that matter, why isn’t it good enough to win him a new trial where the evidence of his innocence could be heard by a jury?

The answer is simple: It is good enough. People have won reversals in their cases for far less than what Troy has put forward.

So why are so many politicians and state officials in Georgia determined to kill Troy?

This case is not merely a matter of guilt or innocence. Race and class have everything to do with why Troy was arrested in the first place, and why he has had such a hard time getting a hearing in the courts ever since. Troy was a Black man accused of killing a white police officer in a city of the Deep South, and he was too poor to afford good legal representation at his first trial.

Now that he does have lawyers who have been able to unravel the case against him, Troy is required under the law to prove his innocence in a court system that wants to accept the evidence as it was presented against him nearly 20 years ago. Without incontrovertible proof of innocence–like DNA testing that excludes him–it is very difficult to prove innocence in the eyes of the law.

It all comes down to this terrible truth, as Troy himself put it in an interview in the New Abolitionist: “Georgia feels it’s better to kill me than admit I’m innocent.”

If Georgia goes forward and executes Troy Davis, it will be very definition of a modern-day lynching.

When Blacks were lynched in this country, it was often based on a lie–that they were guilty of some crime and deserved their fate. And there was no recourse for them in the court system or wider power structure. The perpetrators of lynchings were almost never punished–only 1 percent of such cases ever went trial, and far fewer were ever convicted.

Troy Davis has been convicted and sentenced to death based on a series of lies–and he, too, has found no recourse. Because “Georgia feels it’s better to kill me than admit I’m innocent.”

WE MUST STAND UP AGAINST THIS MODERN-DAY LYNCHING AND SAY NO TO THE EXECUTION OF TROY DAVIS AND NO TO THE RACIST DEATH PENALTY.

For more information on Troy’s case and to keep posted on what you can do today and tomorrow, visit the CEDP website at https://nodeathpenalty.org. Send your messages urging reversal to the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole–Call 404-656-5651, e-mail [email protected] <mailto:[email protected]> and fax 404-651-8502.

ACTIONS TODAY FOR TROY

Rally for Troy in Paris on 9/21

Date: September 21, 2011 5:45 pm
Location: Everywhere!

Today is the International Day of Peace – as one organizer has said, it is intended to be a Day of Global Ceasefire and Nonviolence at ALL levels. Here in the U.S., there has long been a war on poor people and people of color carried out by those in power – from slavery, to lynching, to Jim Crow to today’s prison industrial complex. Just as the title of the upcoming CEDP convention states “The Prison System is the New Jim Crow” – the death sentence is the simply the sharpest tool the INjustice system uses to oppress the poor and people of color.

The planned murder of Troy Davis in Georgia, Lawrence Brewer in Texas and all executions must be stopped! Here is what we know so far about actions for Troy today:

In Georgia:

People are gathering at the gates of Jackson State Prison, 2978 Hwy 36, Jackson Georgia. The official start time is 5
PM.

Open Door Community are hosting a vigil in Atlanta at the State Capitol starting at 6 PM.

In Savannah meet at the fountain in Forsyth Park. March to river starts at 7.

In NYC:

MARCH AND VIGIL FOR TROY DAVIS
At 6 PM, State Building, 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard

In Chicago:

Rally and Vigil for Troy Davis
5 PM at Daley Plaza (118 N. Clark)

In DC:

Folks are in front of the White House now. Also gather at Mt. Vernon Square (near Convention Center) at 6 PM tonight.

In Austin TX:

FROM TEXAS TO GEORGIA – STOP EXECUTIONS!
At 5:30 PM, Texas State Capitol, 11th and Congress

In the Bay Area:

Rally and Vigil for Troy Davis
1:00pm – 4:00pm at Justin Herman Plaza across from the Ferry Building, San Francisco

Vigil for Troy Davis And All People on Death Row
3:30 – 4:30 pm Corner of Oakland Ave. and Monte Vista Ave., Oakland

In Miami: 

Miami Rally: Stop the Execution of Troy Davis!
6:00 PM at The Torch of Friendship, NE 4 St & Biscayne Boulevard

In Boston:

ALL OUT! SPEAK OUT to Protest the Execution of Troy Davis
6 PM at Copley Square

In Urbana-Champaign, IL:

“Speak Out: No Death Penalty! We Are Troy Davis!”
5:30 pm today, Alma Mater statue (UIUC campus, corner of Green & Wright)

In Philadelphia:

Rally for Troy – 5 to 8 PM, west side of City Hall

In Aiken, South Carolina :

6:30 PM, USC – Aiken campus in the Quad (at the center of campus, around the fountain).

In Asheville, NC:

6:30 pm – 08:30 pm at The Cathedral of All Souls, 9 Swan Street, Biltmore Village
For Troy Davis who is scheduled to be executed by the state of Georgia today at 7:00 p.m.

In New Orleans: 

4PM at the New Orleans Public Library, 219 Loyala Ave.

In Knoxville, Tennesse:

6:30pm at Church of the Savior on Weisgarber Road.

In Houston:

Troy Davis Community Vigil at  5:30pm at S.H.A.P.E. Community Center 3903 Almeda

In Durango, CO:

Emergency Protest and Vigil at 4PM at La Plata County Courthouse

In London:

US Embassy, 10pm local time.

Minneapolis-St.Paul

4:30 p.m. Central time at the Marshall St./Lake St. bridge

In Europe:

In Berlin: in front of the US Embassy at 7pm (local middle european summer time). That is six hours prior to the
scheduled execution in Georgia.

In Paris at Place De La Concorde 18h30

In Brussels at 3:00PM, Manifestation pacifique pour la libération de Troy Davis, Ambassade des Etats-Unis d’Amérique

We Are All Troy Davis!

A statement from the Campaign to End the Death Penalty

By: The Campaign to End the Death Penalty
Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty is deeply horrified and grief stricken at the murder of Troy Davis by the State of Georgia on September 21, 2011 at 11:08 PM – despite a worldwide movement of unprecedented numbers of people calling for a halt to the execution.

We are left asking how it could be that seven of nine witnesses can recant and change their testimonies from Troy’s trial, yet the courts still refused to grant him any relief.  There was no physical evidence tying Troy to the 1989 shooting Savannah, Georgia police officer Mark Allan MacPhail – no DNA evidence, no murder weapon, no fingerprints.  He was convicted based solely on the testimony of these witnesses.

How could it be that Troy was found guilty based on the testimony of these witnesses, yet they had no credibility when they later came forward to say that the police coerced and even threatened them into saying that Troy was guilty?

Troy spent 22 years on death row for a crime he did not commit.  We strongly believe that Troy was innocent.  As he maintained during his final words in the execution chamber, “I’d like to address the MacPhail family. Let you know, despite the situation you are in, I’m not the one who personally killed your son, your father, your brother, I am innocent.”

We are appalled and disgusted that the parole board, the courts in Georgia, and the U.S. Supreme Court all denied Troy the relief that he so clearly deserved.

But we are not surprised – we have learned the hard way that innocence does not matter within our justice system.  The U.S. Supreme Court itself has stated that innocence is not enough when seeking relief from the courts in death penalty cases.

Barring the court system – could anyone else have stepped in for Troy?

President Barack Obama declined to speak on the case, stating through his Press Secretary Jay Carney, that the he “has worked to ensure accuracy and fairness in the criminal justice system” and that, “it was not appropriate for the President of the United States to weigh in on specific cases like this one, which is a state prosecution.”

We disagree.  The President is one of the most powerful people in the world – he has the authority to force change within the criminal justice system.  He should have something to say when a state is about to execute an innocent person.

Even with all the evidence of his innocence, Troy was called a criminal, strapped down to a gurney, where he waited for hours while the courts deliberated — and then he was finally killed.

We recognize that this gruesome act is not an unusual occurrence in a system of capital punishment that does not care about the racism and bias against the poor which is endemic in it.  We know that the people who maintain the system of capital punishment are so desperate to keep it that they aren’t willing to admit when they have made a mistake.

Troy’s case may not be unique in this sense – but in another way it is different than the vast majority of executions that have happened over the years.  Troy’s case generated the biggest outpouring of solidarity, support and activism witnessed against a death penalty case in modern times.

Truly, the whole world was watching Georgia these last few days.  As Martina Correia, Troy’s sister and champion, put it, “Troy Davis has impacted the world.  They say ‘I am Troy Davis’ in languages he can’t speak.”

From the close to 1 million petition signatures sent to the Georgia Parole Board to spare Troy’s life, to the many thousands of people who joined Facebook pages and tweeted for Troy, to the thousands who demonstrated all over the world over the last week – the scale of activism for Troy was something many of us in the abolition movement have never witnessed before.

Last week members of the CEDP traveled to Atlanta, Georgia where we participated in a march and rally for Troy.  Over three thousand others rallied to demand that the execution be stopped.

Campaign member and former prisoner Mark Clements gave a heartfelt speech on behalf of Troy.

“I spent 28 year in prison for a crime that I did not commit, I know how Davis is feeling, he’s scared, that’s why I am here, because I know how he feels, I feel his pain, I have witnessed men facing execution and they are scared,” Clements told the crowd.

Fighting hard to control his emotions, he went on to state that “the NEW JIM CROW is about people like Troy, confined inside of prisons for crimes they never committed, and they need us!  We the people to help them like never before.”

There were rallies all over the world for Troy on Wednesday evening. Outside the Jackson prison, waiting to hear whether Troy would live or die, hundreds of people gathered and chanted “You say death row, we say HELL NO!”

That is the spirit we have to go forward with now.  The fight is not over, despite the worst of the worst taking place last night.  It was Troy’s last wish that his family and friends continue to fight even after his death.

As Troy told his supporters in a letter,

There are so many more Troy Davis’.  This fight to end the death penalty is not won or lost through me but through our strength to move forward and save every innocent person in captivity around the globe.  We need to dismantle this Unjust system city by city, state by state and country by country.”

Troy Davis, who contributed so much to our movement and to the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, will be sorely missed and deeply grieved.

In a touching moment yesterday, Troy’s sister Martina, assisted by others, stood up out of her wheelchair, saying, “I’m going to stand here for my brother.”

In honor of Troy Davis and his family, we will continue stand up and build the struggle against the death penalty and the whole INjustice system!

Sad news: Martina Correia, sister of Troy Davis has died.

By: Marlene Martin
Campaign to End the Death Penalty
Friday, December 2, 2011

Terribly sad news….

I just learned a few moments ago that Martina Correia, the courageous sister of Troy Davis, died today.  As many of you know, she was fighting breast cancer and had become very ill and weak in the last few months.

For all of you that were lucky enough to meet Martina, you met someone with incredible conviction and determination.

In one of my last conversation with Martina she told me someone in France had emailed her to say they were sorry that depiste all of their efforts and protest for Troy, they had failed.  Martina said, “I want people to know that we didn’t fail.  As long as we keep hammering awa at this thing, as long as we fefuse to give up, we haven’t failed.  We’ll be doing what Troy would have wanted us to do.  Our efforts made and impatc and will continut to make an impact.

That is always how she was.  She refused to be defeated.  She always looked to the positive, she always looked to ways we could mobilize to win.

I feel so proud and honored to have fought alongside Martina and Troy’s family.  And I know many, many of you feel the same way.

This news came to me in a phone call from Mark Clements, someone who spent 28 years wrongfully incarcerated in Illinois.  He said, “We will miss her, she was a warrior in this fight.  To the best of our ability we must continue this fight she started for Troy and for others.”

Her life was consumed by the fight to win justice for her brother and to raise the banner for abolition of the death penalty.  She was an inspiration to us all.

Now it will be up to us all to fight in her memory and in Troy’s memory — and to not give up.

As we learn more details on services and arrangements, we will post them here and on our list serve.

Marlene Martin,

Campaign to End the Death Penalty.

We are still Troy Davis

By: Marlene Martin

IT’S DIFFICULT to mark the one-year anniversary of the execution of Troy Anthony Davis by the state of Georgia on September 21. Difficult for so many reasons.

It’s difficult to be reminded that he was executed despite overwhelming proof of his innocence. That he was executed even though nearly all of the witnesses who testified against him at his original trial came forward to say their testimony hadn’t been true. These witnesses were the overwhelming reason for Troy’s conviction in the first place, since no physical evidence ever linked him to the crime. But all that had no bearing on his conviction or sentence, as far as the court system was concerned.

It’s difficult to remember just how unresponsive the state was to the cries for justice. Martina Correia, Troy’s incredible sister, who fought nonstop for his freedom, would often say that the system doesn’t care whether Troy is innocent or not, just whether legal procedures were followed correctly. That’s just sick—that the law can be about following procedure at the expense of justice.

Troy knew this all too well as he fought from inside the belly of the beast for 20 long years. “Georgia would rather kill me, an innocent man, that admit they made a mistake,” he once wrote.

It’s difficult to think that Troy never did win his freedom. Never got to be a free man, never got to spend time with his mom, who died shortly before Troy was executed. Never got to help take care of Martina, who was dying of cancer as she fought her determined struggle for Troy. He wasn’t able to be with her, or to help raise Martina’s only son DeJaun, after Martina succumbed to the cancer, only a month and a half after Troy’s execution.

It’s difficult to be reminded that struggle didn’t win that ending—that despite all our efforts, we lost.

But—and here’s the big but—it wasn’t all for naught. Because of the struggle for Troy, built up over years and years of small meetings and small efforts, this injustice that took place against a poor Black man in Georgia took on enormous proportions.

Millions of people in the U.S. and around the world were horrified to see Troy executed. They were horrified to see President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder—also African American, both of them—stand by and do nothing in the face of this injustice.

Our efforts fell short. We weren’t quite powerful enough to stop the machinery of death from moving forward. We weren’t powerful enough to make those who said they couldn’t do anything recognize that they could and should. But we came close. And we did more to expose the realities of the death penalty system than years of quiet work within in the courts.

As Troy was strapped to the execution gurney for hours, waiting on the Supreme Court to make its final decision in his case, I hope he was picturing all of the actions taking place for him around the world.

I do know that he and his sister would both be so proud of the people who have kept Troy’s name alive. Abolitionists all over the U.S. and the world will remember Troy on September 21—remember that the fight goes on. They would be heartened to know that activists were bringing the injustice that Troy suffered into the movements struggling for something better—like the woman at an Occupy Wall Street encampment who said, when asked her name, that she was “Troy Davis.”

That is the best way to press on—to let the injustice we mark on this day fuel our determination to stay the course and keep up the fight. We got you, Troy and Martina. We’ll keep holding you up.

************************************

The Campaign to End the Death Penalty will hold its annual convention on November 2-4 in Austin, Texas.   Find out more here.

If you would like to support the Campaign, contribute to the Costella Cannon Fund, which helps bring former prisoners family members and murder victims’ family members to the convention.