Davis should not be ‘legally lynched’ in Georgia

A few days ago we wrote to call attention to the scheduled execution of Troy Davis in Georgia. Now we write again in response to the shocking decision of The Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles to deny Troy clemency and to continue with that execution as planned Wednesday.

While Davis was convicted in 1991, the fact that there was no physical evidence and the fact that seven of nine original witnesses have recanted their testimony demonstrates that Troy is very likely innocent. Those seven include three of the four people who claimed to have witnessed Davis commit the murder. Certainly, the state can no longer claim Troy is “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt” and should release him — or at the least give him a new trial.

The long process of Davis’s appeals for a new trial and a halt to his execution have demonstrated in the most disturbing way the willful choice of the judicial system to dismiss compelling evidence. Davis is facing death because the witness recantations were dismissed as inconsequential by a series of authorities, including the Georgia Supreme Court, which denied him a new trial in which to present this evidence by a vote of 4-3.

We are taught that guilt will be determined in a fair trial by a “jury of one’s peers,” yet Davis was condemned by a jury fooled by false testimony. What’s more, some of the witnesses who have admitted to perjuring themselves have stated that they did so due to pressure by police to incriminate Davis. And once these admissions provided better evidence as to Davis’s actual guilt or innocence, he was unreasonably denied recourse to a new jury of his peers — by a string of judges and officials who can only be deemed incredibly biased by their desire to protect the claim of the justice system to infallibility and their almost unbelievable lack of concern for the rights of a man who certainly has not been proven guilty.

The facts of Davis’s case have brought protests from human and civil rights groups such as Amnesty International, the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union (along with Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict XVI). Moreover, the case has led even the former head of the FBI, William Sessions, to argue that Davis’s guilt is in doubt, and his execution would be a violation of basic norms of justice and decency.

Now, here in Champaign-Urbana, as in numerous cities around the country — and around the world — we won’t be silent as Troy is legally lynched.

We are calling everyone to join us and rally at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday around the Alma Mater to speak out and loud against this modern-day lynching of a wrongfully convicted man.

We also invite you call the prosecutor responsible for this injustice, District Attorney Larry Chisolm, and demand to know how his office could maintain in court that Davis is guilty when its own witnesses have denounced the case. Further, demand that Chisolm withdraw the death warrant.

Wednesday, we will stand in solidarity with Troy Davis all the way until the end. We hope this rally will turn into a celebration if we hear good news of a last minute victory from Georgia. But if the execution takes place, we will not let Troy’s life be sacrificed in vain. We will speak out even louder, because we are not to give in until the death penalty is abolished in every state of this country!

We will stand with Troy until the end. No matter the outcome.

We are Troy Davis.

_Daniel Werst and Damian Reyes, Sophomore in LAS and Junior in LAS_