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US death row inmate loses bid to prove his innocence

danarhea

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WASHINGTON — A court ruled Tuesday that Troy Davis, a death row inmate given a rare second chance by the US Supreme Court, had failed to prove his innocence, clearing the way for his execution.

A highly unusual hearing was ordered in June for Davis, who has been on death row since 1991 for murdering a policeman, because seven of the nine witnesses against him had recanted testimony in the years since his trial.

But a court in the southern US state of Georgia decided on Tuesday that Davis, an African-American, had been unable to show that he was innocent of the fatal shooting of a white police officer in 1989.
Here is the problem I have with this decision:

1) In America, the burden is on the prosecution to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant is guilty.

2) Seven of the nine witnesses for the state say that they were pressured by police to implicate the defendant.

3) The state's total case rested upon this testimony, as there was no other evidence linking him to the crime.

4) If the testimony is coerced, then the testimony is not any good.

5) If the testimony is not any good, then at the very least, reasonable doubt exists.

So why must the defendant have to prove himself innocent, especially after prosecutorial misconduct in his trial? It does not make sense to me. And, if it turns out that the defendant is indeed innocent, then he is today's poster boy on why the death penalty should be abolished. I believe that this will go back to SCOTUS, which will overturn the verdict and sentence.

On another note, this happened in Georgia, which makes me very happy, as the spotlight will be off Texas for a few days, well at least for a couple of days anyways. :mrgreen:

Article is here.
 
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Coronado

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Interesting. I'm trying to find the opinion online, but at first blush I find it extremely disturbing to shift the burden to the defendant in any case, much less in a capitol punishment case.
 

Your Star

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Oh Georgia, I love you, but come on. :doh
 

Harshaw

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The burden of proof is always on the plaintiff (except in specialized arguments such as affirmative defenses). And when you initiate an appeal, even if you were the defendant at trial, you become the plaintiff.

Now, don't jump down my throat about this case. You asked; I'm simply answering as a matter of law and procedure.
 

Coronado

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FWIW, the Supreme Court's opinion is here, and Scalia's dissent is here.
 

Morality Games

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A technologically advanced and prosperous society employing the death penalty is troubling to me.
 

BCR

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the risk of executing an innocent man is enough to make me oppose the death penalty. I doubt the death penalty is really much more of a determent than life in prison anyways.
 

soccerboy22

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The burden of proof is always on the plaintiff (except in specialized arguments such as affirmative defenses). And when you initiate an appeal, even if you were the defendant at trial, you become the plaintiff.

Now, don't jump down my throat about this case. You asked; I'm simply answering as a matter of law and procedure.
While that is true, seven of nine witnesses saying they pressured by police and you still aren't able to get an appeal. That is kind of scary.
 

jambalaya

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I think one thing we really have to consider is that not all recanted testimony is legitimate. There is a lot of recanted testimony because of political pressure, coercion by the appeals lawyers, the fact that there is really no penalty for recanting your testimony many years later so big deal if I give a brother a second chance. If one or two recant, it becomes a little easier for the third and so on to recant. So I am just saying you have to consider both sides. That being said it is beyond scary what I have seen regarding police and prosecutors protecting a conviction they know in their hearts to be probably false yet they are willing to let someone die or rot in jail anyway.
 

Cold Highway

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A technologically advanced and prosperous society employing the death penalty is troubling to me.
I have no problem with the Death Penalty but I do have a problem when the state kills a innocent person then to add insult to injury covering it up.
 

MaggieD

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1) In America, the burden is on the prosecution to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant is guilty.
The state had already proved him guilty. In the appeals process, it's up to the accused to prove he isn't.

2) Seven of the nine witnesses for the state say that they were pressured by police to implicate the defendant.
Two of nine still remain. Witnesses recanting testimony isn't that unusual and, often, the recantation isn't believed. Too many reasons someone might recant years later.

3) The state's total case rested upon this testimony, as there was no other evidence linking him to the crime.
The state's case rested on the testimony of NINE witnesses. How ridiculous to find him guilty!!!

4) If the testimony is coerced, then the testimony is not any good.
5) If the testimony is not any good, then at the very least, reasonable doubt exists.
Two eye witnesses is plenty good enough evidence for conviction.
 

Morality Games

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A society unable to remove certain elements from within due to cowardice troubles me more.
The death penalty seems like an unnecessarily reckless punishment. No justice system can be trusted to render correct verdicts or fair punishments all of the time, and the justice system which incorporates this understanding into its protocols will be superior to one which is overconfident of its efficiency, because the first seeks to correct its mistakes and continually improves on itself while the latter trusts in its procedures too much to undermine previous decisions. Some would argue our appeals process is good enough, but I don’t believe an irreversible punishment like death can ever be meted out fairly within an imperfect system. There can be no compensation for wrongful conviction after an execution.

'Cowardice' seems like a melodramatic way of putting opposition to the death penalty. There are plenty of reasons to be against it.

Two eye witnesses is plenty good enough evidence for conviction.
Are you serious? Nine wasn't enough. Eye witness testimony on any phenomenon is notoriously unreliable, let alone at night in the fray of a beating/murder. It's not as though people were walking up to the confrontation and analyzing the participants' faces so that they wouldn't contribute to a case of mistaken identity later.

Murder weapons, photographic evidence, forensic evidence . . . if you have to condemn a man to death, solid proofs like these are what you need to do it.

I have no problem with the Death Penalty but I do have a problem when the state kills a innocent person then to add insult to injury covering it up.
Then you have a problem with the death penalty, because the existence of the institution is supported by such cover ups. If states were continually listing off the number of suspect cases and the reasons why, eventually people would loose their enthusaism for the practice.
 
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ScottD

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A society unable to remove certain elements from within due to cowardice troubles me more.
I'd say being afraid of killing an innocent person is not something that you should consider a weakness.
 

Johnny

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I find it troubling that eye witness testimony is used in the first place. If the only evidence is eye witness testimony then the case should never be tried. Eye witness testimony is the most unreliable evidence there is. Seriously, just because they raise there right hand and say they're telling the truth means we should believe them. That's insane.
 

Kali

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I find it troubling that eye witness testimony is used in the first place. If the only evidence is eye witness testimony then the case should never be tried. Eye witness testimony is the most unreliable evidence there is. Seriously, just because they raise there right hand and say they're telling the truth means we should believe them. That's insane.
Even Judge Judy usually does not allow hearsay in her courtroom:)
 

texmaster

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Davis was given an opportunity to present new evidence at a hearing in federal court in Savannah in June 2010, but he put on only a paucity of testimony. He did not take the stand in his defense, and not call Sylvester Coles (the primary witness) as a witness. He also did not call some of the other witnesses who had given affidavits on his behalf, even though some of them were present in the courthouse.

And not a single witness was willing to recant officially in a court of law.

This piece of trash killed an off duty cop.

Fry him. The police officer's family has suffered enough of this murderer still breathing.

Dan,

Did you even bother to read about what he presented and didn't present in his second case before running up the innocent banner?

http://www.connectsavannah.com/news/article/102444/
 
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texmaster

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what if one of them is actually being implicated in teh crime by the recanting witnesses?
Then why didn't he call them in his second try? Why didn't he call himself? Does this sound like an innocent man to you?
 

Vader

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Here is the problem I have with this decision:

1) In America, the burden is on the prosecution to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant is guilty.

2) Seven of the nine witnesses for the state say that they were pressured by police to implicate the defendant.

3) The state's total case rested upon this testimony, as there was no other evidence linking him to the crime.

4) If the testimony is coerced, then the testimony is not any good.

5) If the testimony is not any good, then at the very least, reasonable doubt exists.

So why must the defendant have to prove himself innocent, especially after prosecutorial misconduct in his trial? It does not make sense to me. And, if it turns out that the defendant is indeed innocent, then he is today's poster boy on why the death penalty should be abolished. I believe that this will go back to SCOTUS, which will overturn the verdict and sentence.

On another note, this happened in Georgia, which makes me very happy, as the spotlight will be off Texas for a few days, well at least for a couple of days anyways. :mrgreen:

Article is here.
Yet more backwards southern justice.... that the Scotus didn't have the ball-balls to correct.
 

texmaster

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Yet more backwards southern justice.... that the Scotus didn't have the ball-balls to correct.
Still throwing out the bigoted lines against the South huh Vader? Didn't my last display of countless atrocities by your state against Native Americans teach you anything?

No region or state is innocent. Stop pretending one is worse than the other.
 

Vader

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Still throwing out the bigoted lines against the South huh Vader? Didn't my last display of countless atrocities by your state against Native Americans teach you anything?

No region or state is innocent. Stop pretending one is worse than the other.
I am speaking the truth. Justice has ALWAYS been crooked in the south. You may now return to planet denial.
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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You forgot to ask:

What on earth did the reporter waste my time telling me the convicted man was black? Was that relevant somehow? Are all black convicts automatically innocent or what?
 

Scarecrow Akhbar

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Once Again, Wiki Sucks and Starts Politicizing Without Bothering With the Facts....
Between the trial and first set of appeals, seven of the nine prosecution eyewitnesses who had linked Davis to the killing have unofficially recanted or contradicted part of their original trial testimony, claiming police coercion and questionable interrogation tactics, but none have made a formal recantation as required by law.[1] 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. One person has claimed that Coles boasted at a party that he killed an off-duty police officer.[2] One witness did not recant his testimony and is not himself a suspect in the murder; he made an in-court identification of Davis at the original trial.
What IS important is that NOT ONE witness has recanted their testimony.

That might mean something in examining the case, eh?
 
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