WASHINGTON, DC – The Green Party of the United States today called for a halt to the impending execution of Troy Davis, scheduled for September 21 in Georgia, and cited the case an example of why the death penalty must be abolished.
Green Party members will participate in public events urging the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole to stop the execution when the board meets on Monday, September 19.
“Supporters of capital punishment insist that it should only used when no doubt remains about the guilt of the accused. The Troy Davis case shows that death-row inmates are facing execution even when significant doubts emerge. We know that racial disparities in sentencing and abuses by prosecutors such as the withholding of exculpatory evidence have led to wrongful sentencing. The only way to prevent erroneous executions is to end capital punishment altogether,” said Leenie Halbert, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States and formerly active in Angels of Mercy in Louisiana and a volunteer with Sr. Helen Prejean’s Moratorium 2000 campaign.
Mounting doubts about the evidence against Troy Davis include seven of the nine witnesses recanting their testimony and the statements by several of the witnesses that they were pressured by the police to identify Troy Davis as the murderer of off-duty police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in 1989. Of the two remaining witnesses, one is the initial suspect.
Theresa El-Amin, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States, has arranged for a bus from Columbus to Atlanta on Friday afternoon, September 16, for Greens and others to participate in a “Too Much Doubt to Execute!” march and prayer service at Ebenezer Baptist Church with national and local civil rights, faith, and community leaders. The event is sponsored by Georgians for an Alternative to the Death Penalty, NAACP, and Amnesty International.
Greens noted that the Supreme Court’s McClesky v. Kemp ruling (1987) upheld the death penalty despite evidence of racial discrepancies in sentencing, which amounted to approval by the nation’s highest court for racism in the application of capital punishment. (Mr. Davis is Black.) See “United States of America: Death by Discrimination – The Continuing Role of Race in Capital Cases,” Amnesty International, April 23, 2003.
Furthermore, the Supreme Court, in Herrera v. Collins (1993), ruled that the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment does not prohibit the execution of a person known to be innocent, if he or she has already been tried and sentenced to death. Greens have called this decision a license for the state to murder the innocent.
The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, signed into law by President Clinton, has imposed roadblocks, in the name of combatting terrorism, that have made it more difficult for death-row inmates to get new trials.
The Green Party Platform’s section on criminal justice endorses abolition of the death penalty.
“We urge all states to follow the example of Gov. George Ryan of Illinois, who imposed a moratorium on executions in his state in 2000 because of the number of inmates whose sentences were overturned because of the flawed and biased justice system. Capital punishment is not only irreversible, it’s barbaric and inhumane and a violation of human rights that calls into question all death penalty case convictions. Capital punishment does not deter crime, but instead has been used to exterminate the poor and people of color who are consistently treated unfairly in the justice system,” said Rev. Darryl Moch of Inner Light Ministries, co-chair of the DC Statehood Green Party and a member of the Green Party Black Caucus.
Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org