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Two Death Row Exonerations in Less Than 10 Days. Could Troy Davis Be Next?

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May 20, 2009

Last week saw the exoneration of the 132nd person from death row since 1973. Paul House, who was on death row for 22 years and was scheduled for a new hearing, was exonerated after a DNA test proved he was not the perpetrator of the murder he was convicted of in 1986. Daniel Wade Moore became the 133rd exoneree when he was acquitted at a retrial for a 1999 rape and murder. Given the vast amount of people released from death row in the last 35 years, it is clear that capital punishment in the United States is fatally flawed and there is the unconscionable possibility to execute an innocent person. Troy Davis, who is almost certainly innocent, should have a chance to make the list of the exonerated. Instead, no court has heard evidence of his innocence.

Yesterday, Amnesty International organized a Global Day of Action for Troy Davis, who has been on Georgia’s death row since 1989. The facts of Davis’s case indicate that he is almost certainly innocent: Convicted and sentenced to death for the 1989 murder of Officer Mark MacPhail, an off-duty police officer, Davis’s case lacks any physical evidence, and no murder weapon has been found. The only evidence against Davis is the testimony of witnesses. But seven of the nine nonpolice witnesses have recanted or contradicted their trial testimony. Of the two witnesses who did not recant, one is an alternative suspect.

Act now. Write Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and ask him to commute Troy Davis’s sentence.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post stated the crimes for which Moore was convicted of took place in 2003. That was incorrect. They took place in 1999.