NAACP Deeply Disappointed in Ruling in the Evidentiary Hearing of Troy Davis

The NAACP is deeply disappointed in the decision by a Georgia federal district judge who ruled Tuesday that death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis did not prove his innocence in an evidentiary hearing held earlier this summer.

The United States Supreme Court in August 2009, ordered a federal judge in Georgia to grant Davis an evidentiary hearing to prove his innocence. The evidentiary hearing allowed Davis and his legal team the opportunity to present evidence, primarily the testimony of witnesses who had recanted or contradicted their original statements since the original hearing.

“Words cannot express the disappointment of the NAACP as we witnessed Tuesday a ruling that could put an innocent man to death,” stated Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP President and CEO. “During the evidentiary hearing, witness testimony raised serious doubt as to Troy’s guilt. There was testimony from witnesses who admitted in court to lying when they implicated Troy Davis as the one who shot Officer MacPhail; there were witnesses who implicated another man as the one who killed the officer, including a man who said he saw the shooting and could identify the alternative suspect; finally three of the original state witnesses described police coercion during questioning. American morality should not stand for the execution of an innocent man and we will do all we can to stop this travesty of justice.”

Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing Savannah, Georgia police officer Mark MacPhail, despite the fact that no physical evidence linked Troy to the crime and the weapon used in the crime was never found. The case against him consisted entirely of witness testimonies which were found at the time of trial to contain inconsistencies. Additionally, seven of the nine witnesses who testified against Davis have recanted or contradicted their original testimony. One of the witnesses, who has not recanted is the prime alternative suspect in the case. Troy had no criminal record and since he has been in prison has been a model prisoner and valuable mentor to his young nephew.

“The NAACP Georgia State Conference is disappointed in Judge William T. Moore’s ruling on Tuesday,” stated Ed Dubose, NAACP Georgia State Conference President. "We maintain our position that Troy Anthony Davis is an innocent man on death row for a crime that he did not commit. We are more determined than ever before to fight on for justice for Troy Anthony Davis," concluded Dubose.

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

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