BREAKING: SCOTUS holds Davis case until Sept. [UPDATE]
We just received word that the U.S. Supreme Court will delay any judgment on the case of Georgia death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis until September.
Lawyers filed what many considered a long-shot habeas corpus petition with the Court in late May. Twenty-seven former judges and prosecutors, including 2008 Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr and former FBI director William Sessions, filed an amicus brief with the Court asking justices to consider taking the Davis case.
Davis is on death row for the 1989 murder of Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in a Burger King parking lot. Since the 1991 trial, seven of nine witnesses have either changed or recanted their testimony in sworn affidavits.
Lawyers have tried unsuccessfully to get a court to grant a hearing or trial in order to hear the recantations.
Georgia Democratic Reps. Hank Johnson and John Lewis visited Davis at the Georgia Diagnostic & Classifications Prison in Jackson last month during which they circulated letters signed by two dozen members of Congress sent to Attorney General Eric Holder and Chatham County DA Larry Chisolm in asking both to reconsider the Davis case.
Lewis even floated the idea of asking President Obama for a presidential pardon, though no word on if Lewis has yet to approach the president on the idea.
The decision to delay will give groups like Amnesty International USA and Georgians For Alternatives to the Death Penalty more time to bring attention to the case.
GFADP, Amnesty, and the NAACP held a press conference this morning in Savannah during which they joined local leaders, clergy members, and Davis supporters in asking Chisolm to reopen the case. Supporters have been circulating petitions in Chatham County, across the nation, and around the world asking for a new Davis trial.
Supporters delivered 60,000 petitions to Chisolm, who remains quiet on the issue, this morning.
Pope Benedict XVI, former President Jimmy Carter, and Archbishop Desmond Tutu are among those asking Davis be spared the death penalty.
Stay with Atlanta Progressive Blog for more updates.
UPDATE 2:45: We just received the following statement from Laura Moye, director of AIUSA’s Death Penalty Abolition Campaign:
This delay is an indication that the Supreme Court is concerned by the gravity of Troy Davis’ innocence claims. We will continue to call on all authorities, including the Supreme Court, to finally hear the evidence that has motivated hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to raise their voices and demand justice.