July 21st, 2009
10:42 AM ET

Morning Buzz: On death row for someone else’s crime?

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Eliza Browning
AC360° Associate Producer

Troy Davis has spent nearly 18 years on death row; convicted of killing an off-duty police officer. His attorneys say Davis is innocent and deserves a new trial. Since he was convicted in 1991, seven out of nine witnesses have recanted. Gary Tuchman spoke to two witnesses, the pastor who drove Davis home from the scene of the crime and Davis himself from prison. Gary will have more on the case tonight.

We’re also looking into what happened to Henry Louis Gates, Jr., the Harvard scholar, who was arrested last week while trying to force open the locked front door of his home near the university. The prominent African American scholar believes he was mistreated because he is a black man in America. Joe Johns is in Boston where he’ll have the latest on the situation.

Do you text while you drive? Well, bad news - this kind of distraction is apparently equivalent to driving with a .8 blood alcohol level. In 2002, regular cell phone use by drivers caused around 955 fatalities and 240,000 accidents overall. We’re learning all of this from a federal study commissioned back in 2003, but the results are only being released now. That’s because the government never made the report public and consumer advocacy groups pushed to disclose the findings. Critics say this is a major cover-up. So why didn’t the government release the risks of distracted driving? Tom Foreman digs deeper.

The President continues his big health care push today – he’s meeting with Democrats who are opposed to the plan and will make public remarks in a few hours. Is he making headway? Is he taking a gamble? He’s getting ready for his primetime address tomorrow but is still facing pushback from members of his own party, who say the plan does not do enough to cut medical costs.

Speaking of costs, Neil Barofsky, the special inspector general of TARP who is tracking the $700 billion bailout program, said that he’s concerned that federal officials are ignoring his proposal for preventing tax dollars from being wasted. The top cop of the bailout program released a report that shows the federal government is now exposed to the tune of $23 trillion dollars. How many zeros are in 23 trillion? We have an exclusive interview with Barofsky tonight.

And get ready to cue Bonnie Tyler because there will be a total eclipse of the … sun today. It will be the longest solar eclipse of the 21st Century over any one location, lasting for six minutes and 39 seconds. It will be visible from India, China and parts of the South Pacific Ocean.

What else are you following today? Let us know and tune in tonight at 10 p.m. ET!

Filed under: Eliza Browning • The Buzz
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Monica Oliver

    It is sad for the family of the police officier and for the defendent .They both lost members of their families. The sad thing is if he didn't do it there is another innocent person dying to capital punishment.

    July 21, 2009 at 10:49 pm |
  2. lampe

    Exactly what was The Justice System supposed to do here? There were (9) witnesses, who said "He was the one." Now they have a change of Heart. Those (7) people who changed their stories, should be the ones facing charges, of Perjury.

    July 21, 2009 at 1:52 pm |
  3. Mike in NYC

    How long before the "racial" aspects of the Davis case are inevitably dragged in?

    Here's a racial aspect - even if he is innocent, the fact remains that a black male killed the cop.

    July 21, 2009 at 11:44 am |
  4. Mari

    This is a perfect example as to why the death penalty is immoral and inhumane. What's disturbing is that pro-life 'Christians' cry "kill" him/her when a crime is committed, and do not stop to wonder IF killing the killer will actually change things, which it wont. There is no closure, only God can provide that.

    Jesus came to abolish the old law of an eye for an eye. We, Christians, do not get it!

    How many innocents have been put to death erroneously?

    July 21, 2009 at 11:17 am |