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Oral Arguments in Troy Davis Case

Jack Payden-Travers,
Capital Punishment Project
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December 1, 2008

A date has been set for the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear oral arguments in Troy Davis’s case. The 11th Circuit, which ordered a stay of execution on October 24,will hear arguments on December 9, 2008.

The issue before the court is whether Mr. Davis can meet the standards for an evidentiary hearing under the 1996 Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA). Davis must show that he possesses new clear and convincing evidence that could not have been discovered previously and which no reasonable fact-finder would have found him guilty.

In addition, the three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit has requested that both sides address the issue of whether Mr. Davis can be executed if he fails to meet the procedural hurdles under AEDPA but can establish his actual innocence. Seven out of nine eyewitnesses have either recanted or changed their trial testimony. The Fulton County Daily Report has written an article entitled “11th Circuit Raises Big Questions by Delving Into Death Row Case.”

While attorneys for each side will argue the fine points of law on December 9, letters to the editor about this case are an excellent way to express your concern about our dysfunctional death penalty system where one can be procedurally barred from presenting claims of actual innocence.

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