Troy Davis, Convicted Killer, Gets A New Hearing
Justice John Paul Stevens"The substantial risk of putting an innocent man to death clearly provides an adequate justification for holding an evidentiary hearing."
Troy Davis, a former sports coach from Georgia, USA, was convicted of the 1989 murder of an off-duty police officer Mark MacPhail. Davis always insisted that he was innocent and fell victim of mistaken identity. In 1991, Davis was sentenced to death penalty. While on death row, Davis demanded that the court re-examines the new evidence and gives him another trial. Seven out of nine state witnesses recanted their testimony since Davis’s trial ended.
Throughout the years, Davis received support of such dignitaries as Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict XVI in his appeal for another trial. Today, it was announced that a federal judge will consider and rule on the claim of innocence in Davis’s case, granting Davis a new hearing. The evidence not heard in his first trial will be examined to help prove his innocence. Two judges dissented from the appeal, refusing to give Davis a new hearing and saying his claim is a "sure loser."
The high court ordered a federal judge to “receive testimony and findings of fact as to whether evidence that could not have been obtained at the time of trial clearly establishes [Davis’] innocence.”
Justice Antonin Scalia, joined by Justice Clarence Thomas, issued a dissent, saying the federal judge assigned to hear the case will not be able to grant Davis relief. “It becomes stranger still when one realizes that the allegedly new evidence we shunt off to be examined by the district court has already been considered (and rejected) multiple times,” Scalia wrote.