Wednesday, February 04, 2009

About to be killed by the state of Georgia

Indie rock group State Radio has joined forces with Amnesty International to produce a short, hard-hitting animated Web video about the plight of death row inmate Troy Davis. Davis has been on death row for 18 years and has received three stays of execution, twice coming within 24 hours of his death, despite a strong claim of innocence that has never been heard in a court of law. The case has captured the attention of people nationwide. The genesis of the Web video came when lead singer Chad Stokes, an Amnesty International member, wrote a song about Davis called “State of Georgia.” According to the band,

Troy Davis’ case is one example of a major malfunction within the justice system in this country. We believe that every person deserves the right to a fair trial, and because of scenarios like this, we believe the death penalty should be abolished nationwide.

With stark moving images that illustrate the song’s lyrics, the Web video demonstrates, in bold-face, the disturbing realities of the case: no murder weapon, no physical evidence tying Davis to the crime and witnesses who recanted their testimony, alleging police coercion. Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail. Authorities failed to produce a murder weapon or physical evidence tying Davis to the crime. Seven of the nine original state witnesses have recanted or changed their initial testimonies in sworn affidavits. One of the remaining witnesses is alleged to be the actual perpetrator. Since the launch of its February 2007 report, Where Is the Justice for Me?, Amnesty International has campaigned intensively for a new evidentiary hearing or trial, as well as clemency for Davis, collecting hundreds of thousands of clemency petition signatures and letters from prominent individuals around the world. Davis’ case is now pending before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In a similar move during the campaign to save Kenneth Foster, a few of us down here in Texas, started an online video campaign as part of the Save Kenneth Foster effort. We asked everyone who has a webcam to record a statement and upload it to YouTube saying why Texas Governor Rick Perry and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles should stop the execution of Kenneth Foster on August 30, 2007. Later that week Gov. Rick Perry commuted Kenneth Foster's sentence.

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