An all-white jury, decade of delays, possible witness tampering and recanted testimonies result in justice denied
BALTIMORE – The NAACP has issued the following statement regarding the outcome of the trial of Kharon Davis in Dothan, Alabama yesterday:
“The NAACP is woefully disappointed with the return of the guilty verdict in the trial of Kharon Davis yesterday, and we are adamant and hopeful about the defense’s announcement that they will appeal.
Although he has been convicted based wholly on circumstantial evidence of a charge lesser than the original one of capital murder, the inappropriateness and unprofessionalism displayed by the Dothan criminal justice system in all aspects of its treatment of Kharon Davis, has been simply unconscionable.
During a trial in which several witnesses recanted their original statements, alleged that the prosecutors threatened and coerced them into statements and excluded African-Americans from the jury, except as an alternate from a city with a 33 percent Black population; the NAACP and our nation cannot in any way assume that Mr. Davis guarantees of protection under the Sixth Amendment was in any way protected.
For over a decade now, Mr. Davis has been denied his Sixth Amendment rights to a fair and speedy public trial by a jury of his peers. Now, this man who languished in jail for ten years of his life—in a country where he is presumed to be innocent—has been found guilty within just a couple of hours, although by every standard of legal measure the state failed to make its case. For several years, he has been treated in a punitive and cruel manner which includes being placed in solitary confinement and denied visitation from his mother, family, and friends.
The judge may indeed don a black robe, but this brand of justice is symbolic of, and hearkens back to an uglier period in not just Alabama’s, but America’s not-too-distant past when it comes to the fair application of due process toward African Americans accused of criminality. The racial makeup of the jury, the excessively long wait for a trial, the refusal of a change of venue, witnesses alleging threats and tampering and changing their testimonies, all are familiar and point to justice denied Mr. Davis, plain and simple.
The NAACP remains committed to ensuring that Kharon Davis, who has steadfastly maintained his innocence since his arrest in 2007, gets the fair and impartial representation that he is entitled to. The NAACP became involved in the case several years ago due to the obvious violation of Davis’ Sixth Amendment rights. We stand with him still, and we will continue, along with our Alabama State Conference and Dothan Branch, to monitor the appeal process to ensure that justice is finally served for Mr. Davis and his family.”