27 Former Judges and Prosecutors File Amicus Brief with U.S. Supreme Court on Behalf of Troy Davis

On May 20, twenty-seven former judges and prosecutors from across the political spectrum filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Georgia death row inmate Troy Davis. Signers of the amicus brief include Larry Thompson (Deputy Attorney General of the United States, 2001-2003), former Congressman Bob Barr (R-GA; U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, 1986-1990); William S. Sessions (Director, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1987-1993), and John Gibbons (former Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit). Their brief urges the Court to order an evidentiary hearing in District Court, arguing that “Mr. Davis’ petition for an original writ meets this Court’s exceptional circumstances test because Mr. Davis can make an extraordinary showing through new, never reviewed evidence that strongly points to his innocence, and thus his execution would violate the Constitution.” Davis’ attorneys filed a writ of habeas corpus with the Court, pursuant to its original jurisdiction, asking for the same hearing. Davis has a significant amount of new evidence pointing to his innocence that has never been fully reviewed in court. He was sentenced to death primarily on eyewitness testimony, but 7 of the 9 eyewitnesses have recanted their testimony and some evidence points to one of the two remaining witnesses as the person who committed the murder. The amicus brief may be read here and the original writ of habeas corpus may be read here.

(Posted May 21, 2009) (See B. Rankin, “Supreme Court asked to send back death-row case,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, May 20, 2009). See also Innocence and Supreme Court.