August 17th, 2009
03:36 PM ET

The NAACP's "I am Troy" campaign

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/08/17/georgia.scotus.troy.davis/art.davis.courtesy.jpg caption="Troy Davis has always maintained his innocence in the 1989 killing of Officer Mark MacPhail."]


Troy Anthony Davis is an African American man who has spent the last 18 years on death row for a murder he did not commit. There is no physical evidence tying him to the crime and seven out of nine witnesses have recanted. New evidence and new testimony have been presented to the Georgia courts, but the justice system refuses to consider this evidence, which would prove Troy Davis’ innocence once and for all.

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Filed under: Crime & Punishment
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Alexis

    Not sure.....why didn't the accusers get the story straight in the beginning? Now, they can remember what happened "better" than they did back then? Still, if this is the case, lets hear the trial again.

    August 18, 2009 at 12:07 pm |
  2. karen-

    I agree that the justice system should make any and all efforts to look into any and all old and new evidence if there is potential to save an innocent person from the death penalty. I don't care, nor should it matter whether they are BLACK, white or of any other nationality. Don't you get tired of the so-called African American syndrome?? He is not African American. He is a BLACK AMERICAN...Most of them have NEVER even been to Africa..So, whose idea was it to call BLACK AMERICANS "African American" and why? Was it the fact that MOST Africans are BLACK? geez..get real..If he's innocent, let him go. If he's not, fry him or inject him!!

    August 18, 2009 at 9:06 am |
  3. Stacy Harris

    While living in Georgia I too had an experience. I was brought into the station because 2 black men robbed a white man. Since there were 2 of us walking down the street they automatically assumed it was us. After interrogation by the police and a humiliating experience with the victim, who insisted it was me and my friend, I realized how screwed up the Georgia justice system is especially toward black people. As the police man was about to take us to jail, the only thing that kept us out of jail, and I could still be there today, is that the man and his wife could not positively identify us because the criminals wore masks. Yet despite this, the man even tried to say my "afro" was matted and looked like I had a mask on. He even said they were tall and dark skin and I am short and light skin, yet this man was convinced I did or he just wanted someone to pay. It is the way of life in Georgia, a black man is just a black man and I think they really do not care who goes to jail as long as it is a black man. I bet if you did a study going back to the Civil Rights days of how many innocent black men are in jail in Georgia, it will blow your mind. Everytime I went to a white neighborhood, for work, it would only be a matter of minutes before someone called the police. Is sucks, but it is the way of life in Georgia. If you are black, you are guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. I have had to explain myself many times to police.

    August 18, 2009 at 5:27 am |
  4. Nancy Kenney

    After all considered, I have question,"What was Troys motive?" He was at work, heard a homeless man cry out and ran out from his job to help. The man harassing the homeless man sounds like he HAS motive not Troy.

    August 18, 2009 at 1:51 am |
  5. Doug

    Troy Davis should be given a new trial before a different trial judge in a different county. There is corruption in our police departments, and our court systems. Innocent people go to jail everyday in the country for crimes they did not commit. Just take a look at all the people who are being released based on DNA evidence.

    August 18, 2009 at 1:33 am |
  6. Lela

    Anderson and all other CNN anchors:

    I am so discouraged watching the news as it's reported currently. I wish you and all would stop hammering away at anything negative about black people, esp. black men. Why so you keep asking whether Michael Vick was sincere when he gave his apology? No one can determine the inner sanctum of another. I accept his apology. Why can't you? He has gone through the system, paid the penalty,and I don't understand your motive to keep such a meaningless dialog going on this matter. Let him live his life. And who cares that Michael Jackson family is selling memorabalia.
    Why hasn't anyone spoke of the horrors of bull fighting?

    August 18, 2009 at 1:10 am |
  7. Jeffrey Young, Sr

    I've always thought that a search for the truth is it's own reward. If Mr. Davis is guilty wouldn't a review of the evidence confirm this fact? What do we have to fear from the presentation of evidence not presented at trial? The death of anyone is tragic and the conviction of the killer is what we as Americans expect from our justice system but a conviction for conviction sake serves neither the public, the family of the victim or justice. I'm glad that the Supreme Court has decided to enter the case and I truly hope that as a result justice is done, for thre officer and his family and for Mr. Davis.

    August 17, 2009 at 11:51 pm |
  8. Maggie

    With over 130 innocent people having been released from death row since 1973, the US Supreme Court is absolutely correct in taking another look at this case! If we are going to kill people in order to teach people that killing people is wrong, then we must make sure we are killing the correct person.

    August 17, 2009 at 11:22 pm |
  9. Trish

    Unfortunately, the jury at the time did not have the correct information. It is also unfortunate witnesses did not feel they could say what they truly saw and more unfortunate they felt pressured to agree to statements that were untrue, if this is the case.

    However, more unfortunate, a police officer lost his life, his kids lost a father and his wife lost her husband doing the job he signed up to do. He has not gotten justice if the wrong person is being incarcerated, either. So, if people in the justice system 20 years ago would have done the right thing, and the witnesses would have done the right thing maybe this would not be an issue now. If it were just that simple.

    If there is this much doubt, then they have to re-open this case.

    August 17, 2009 at 10:38 pm |
  10. Christine

    I do not know enough about this case so I will not pass judgement.

    That said, I am in favor of the death penalty, and for all those who find it wrong and inhuman please remember that most on death row are killers. The people who were murdered never got the chance for clemency, they never got to say good bye to loved ones, have a last meal, or even have a priest with them. Think of the victim not the killer.

    August 17, 2009 at 10:35 pm |
  11. jonathan

    It great he get's a fair trail. A A+ for our justice system.

    August 17, 2009 at 10:34 pm |
  12. Lucy Frost

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for covering this story and all stories about those who have a plausible claim of innocence in America. For that matter, I hope you'll look beyond the wrongly convicted to our Incarceration Nation - one in 100 American Adults are in prison or jail, 1 in 15 adult Black Americans are incarcerated, according to Pew Research. That's more than any other country where records are made public.

    There is a grassroots movement growing now to address these issues. We are organizing to give a voice to those who have none. While most people in prison are guilty, experts estimate that between 3 and 12% are not. With over 2.3 million incarcerated, that's 115,000 innocent people in prison if the "error" rate is just 5%. No wonder the Innocence Projects are so overwhelmed with requests for help that they have to "triage" cases - taking on only those closest to execution dates, where DNA or other evidence might be available, and even then they can't take on all the worthy cases.

    August 17, 2009 at 8:19 pm |
  13. Mike in NYC

    Whether Davis is guilty or not, the murderer was still a black male, a group heavily overrepresented among murderers.

    This was a black on white crime, and yet many claim that white "racism" is an issue here. Rather perverse and quite disgusting, and indicative of the mindset of both white liberals and aggrieved minorities.

    August 17, 2009 at 8:16 pm |
  14. Dianne

    I read an article in which the officer's wife was on this man side. Ibelieve it was the New York Times

    August 17, 2009 at 8:10 pm |
  15. robin

    Please stop perpetuating the myth that the justice system has refused to consider the "new" evidence. The GA Board of Pardons and Paroles actually had a new "hearing" in Davis' request for clemency – with testimony and presentation of all the "new" evidence yet they still upheld his death sentence. You are swallowing the bilge being thrown about by the NAACP and Amnesty International. Davis is simply another pawn in AI's anti-death penalty campaign. And about those "recantations" – most were "I don't remember now". Several of the witnesses are dead – will they be exhumed to re-testify? This whole thing has turned into a joke at the expense of the family of Officer Mark Allan MacPhail.

    August 17, 2009 at 6:48 pm |
  16. novelett young

    It is scary to be a BLACK PERSON IN AMERICA and so is the justice system. Those who are part of this sytem must realize that there is a greater Judge who will judge them and they will have to answer to their crimes against humanity because of the color of their skin.

    August 17, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  17. Yashminda

    What can Holder do considerin his state haven't and wont consider the facts

    August 17, 2009 at 6:09 pm |
  18. Rose from Muscoy, Calif

    Where is the justice? When a man is innocence, and witnesses have recanted. HAVE OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM FAILED? Our justice system need a overhaul!

    August 17, 2009 at 5:40 pm |
  19. Julie Boswell

    We cannot be a people who executes innocent people. Our court system is not infallible. The risk of executing innocent people is too high to bear. We should never err on the side of execution if there is a chance the person is innocent.

    Execution is morally wrong and I oppose it always. Especially for the innocent.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  20. Mike in NYC

    In the midst of the implied and overt racial grievance politics at work here, the fact remains that the killer, whether or not it was Davis, was a black male.

    How about some coverage of the trial of Letalvis Cobbins for his role in the rapes and murders of Channon Christian and Chris Newsom in Knoxville back in 2007? Well, CNN? You'd be on it 24/7 if the races were reversed in that awful case.

    ***"I am Channon and Chris"***

    August 17, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  21. Annie Kate

    Why won't the justice system look at the new evidence? If they won't look at evidence then why does anyone expect them to take into account a petition?? I hope it works but if Georgia justice won't look at new evidence it appears that there should be new staff in their justice system that takes human life seriously.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:45 pm |
  22. alice NYC

    This is why the death penalty should be Alot of this goes on we see so much of it in the news. Just imagine the hundreds more that have not been able to prove that they are not guilty. We must also remember that if you do not have the money, you may not be able to afford good representation and all that it entails. A person with money can hire good attorneys who go and hire investiators and professionals experts who can help your case.

    August 17, 2009 at 4:35 pm |