Thursday, August 20, 2009
The Case of Troy Anthony Davis
Troy Davis, as you may know, is a (black) former sports coach from Georgia, who was convicted and sentenced to death in 1991 for the August 19, 1989 murder of (white) off-duty Savannah, Georgia police officer Mark MacPhail under unresolved circumstances in a dark parking lot in Atlanta.
Throughout the trial and subsequent appeals, Davis maintained his innocence, claiming he was wrongfully convicted of the crime as a result of false identification.
After the trial and first set of appeals, seven of the nine prosecution eyewitnesses who had linked Davis to the killing recanted or contradicted their original trial testimony, claiming police coercion and questionable interrogation tactics. The witness who first implicated Davis and has remained consistent, Sylvester "Redd" Coles, was initially a suspect in the crime. Coles was seen acting suspiciously the night of MacPhail's murder and has been heard boasting that he killed an off-duty police officer. There is only one witness who did not recant his testimony and is not himself a suspect in the murder, but he made an in-court identification of Davis two years after the crime.
Last week, the Supreme Court--over the objections of Antonin ("Tony, the Toad") Scalia and Clarence ("Unca Tom") Thomas--ordered a federal district court in Georgia to consider and rule on whether new evidence "that could not have been obtained at the time of trial clearly establishes [Davis'] innocence."
Davis could still be executed, which would be--by many lights--a gross and criminal injury to justice. Prosecutors and judges, generally, and in the Soputh particularly, hate to revisit cases in which they may, in retrospect, be seen to have acted in undue, and racially animated haste. They hate to see anyone convicted of anything released. However many people are now urging President Obama, if the potentially exculpatory evidence is not allowed, and the sentence of death is re-instated, to pardon Davis.
Which ain't gonna happen. No Way! Period! No Chance!
The biggest reason that Obama can't issue a pardon to Davis was exemplified by the "Rev. Wright" flap, exaggerated by the Skip gates fiasco, and further exacerbated by the whole "birfer/deather/guns-at-rallies" phenomena, which is nothing but an elaborate surrogate for the racial animus of the protesters: If, as a (even if only HALF) black president interferes in the case of a Black defendant already convicted of killing a white man, there will be unholy hell to pay amid the raving racist contingent, probably amounting to half the white population in the country. He will be accused of racism, or favoring the interests of black citizens over whites, of undermining the fundaments of the judicial system, all for the sake of freeing a (guilty!) "ni66er."
Resentment, fostered by right-wing/racist demagogues (Beck, Limbaugh, Dobbs, O'Reilly, Hannity & Savage, mainly) will explode at this "blatant" act of "racial preferrence." It will happen...
And the cops will not eagerly exercise civil authority against the violent, raging, (well-armed) white, middull-class...
Here's my theory, in fact, on why the "authorities" were not and will not be more aggressive in isolating and/or disarming the armed militia-types lately frequenting (mainly Dim/Presidential 'town-meetings'. It is/was that the the local lconstrabulary were afraid to be seen by their local constituents to be protecting a black--any black, even the President--from "legal" threats from whites.
It's race, stupid: If you are ever in doubt about the sources for legal injustice in the USer system, look first to the race of the victim and the alleged perpetrator...