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Old 09-24-2011, 12:07 AM
CrowsMakeTools CrowsMakeTools is offline
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 54
Default Re: Riding the Metaphor Train (Katherine Mangu-Ward & Erica Grieder)

If you are interested in the Troy Davis case a good place to start is the Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troy_Davis_case

This is the pretty thorough summary of the evidence in the case. When I read through all of it I came to the conclusion that:

1) McPhail was murdered by either Davis or a man Davis was with that night, Sylvester "Redd" Coles.
2) Both Davis and Coles are most likely the only people who knew with certainty who killed McPhail.
3) The original jury spent remarkably little time (less than 2 hours) convicting Davis.
4) Davis has had numerous opportunities through the appeals process to make a case for a new trial. The Georgia Supreme Court split 4-3 against Davis, one of several close calls that went against Davis at various points in the appeals process.
5) The biggest mistake Davis's attorneys made was failing to subpoena Redd Coles at an evidentiary hearing in federal court before Judge William Moore in June 2010. Two witnesses presented testimony that Coles had confessed to them but the judge was never able to hear from Coles himself on the matter.

After I read the wikipedia summary and a few of the other reports, my sense is that Davis was probably guilty, but he had also raised enough potentially exculpatory evidence to deserve a new trial.

People continue to discuss this case in terms that conflate it with the Cameron Todd Willingham case in Texas, but the circumstances are completely different. In the Willingham case the issues turn on the matter of bad forensic evidence that simply does not stand up to scientific scrutiny--in the matter of Willingham, it seems likely not only that he is innocent, but that no crime had occurred. In the Davis case, of course, the question of guilt or innocence turns on issues related to the reliability of eyewitness testimony, as well as the difficulties of overturning a jury finding when subsequently discovered evidence or recanted testimony raises signficant doubts, even though constitutional claims are relatively weak.

Last edited by CrowsMakeTools; 09-24-2011 at 12:13 AM..
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