News and Updates

Troy Davis Airs Innocence Claims In Court, Judge To Rule On New Trial

Credit: AFRO
Troy Davis, 41, returned to court June 23 for an evidentiary hearing in his 1991 conviction for the murder of a Savanna, Ga., police officer.
By: Zenitha Prince
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

(NNPA) - In what could be one step closer to his freedom, death row inmate Troy Davis returned to a Savannah, Ga. court June 23 to offer evidence he believes will negate his 1991 conviction for murder.

Based on a U.S. Supreme Court decision last August, Davis’ lawyers will offer evidence – including recanted testimony – that they hope will “clearly establish” his innocence in the slaying of off-duty police officer, Mark Allen MacPhail.

Troy Davis case full of murky legal questions

By: Russ Bynum
Monday, July 5, 2010

Thanks to an order from the U.S. Supreme Court, a Georgia death row inmate was granted a hearing to prove his innocence to a federal judge — a chance afforded no American facing execution in nearly half a century.

Now that the court hearing is over, what happens next isn't so clear. The case of condemned inmate Troy Anthony Davis is so unusual, legal experts can't even agree on what the judge can do.

Davis' fate rests with a U.S. District Court judge who heard testimony in June from witnesses who say they lied at Davis' trial. Others say they heard another man confess to the 1989 slaying of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail.

Judge William T. Moore Jr. won't rule until after he reviews legal briefs from both sides due Wednesday.

Gaps in Watchdog Journalism Reflected in News From a Trial

Credit: Carlos Javier Ortiz for The New York Times
John Conroy, a longtime reporter in Chicago, covered the trial of a former police commander for a radio station's blog.
New York Times
Sunday, July 4, 2010

Readers who came across a public radio blog documenting the five-week trial of a former Chicago police commander on charges of perjury and obstruction about cases involving torture under his command had to wonder where in the world WBEZ Chicago found so much expertise.

Rainbow Push Coalition Celebrates Outcome of Torture Trial

Torture victims hope legislation prevents police abuse

WGN-TV, Chicago
Saturday, July 3, 2010

CHICAGO - Torture victims joined ministers and activists today to celebrate the conviction of perjury in the torture trial of former police commander Jon Burge. But today, this group says more has to be done to keep abuse from occurring under another commander's watch.

About a half dozen torture victims attended a special July 4th service at Rainbow Push Headquarters. "i was 17 years old when i was framed and kidnapped from my family," torture victim Mike Evans said.

The victims along with Rev. Jesse Jackson and other ministers are calling for legislation to make police torture a federal crime.

Vindication for police torture victims

Mark Clements reacts to the conviction of former Chicago police Lt. Jon Burge
By: Marlene Martin
Socialist Worker
Thursday, July 1, 2010

Marlene Martin of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty remembers the long struggle to win justice for victims of Chicago police torturers--a struggle that led to the guilty verdict this week in a federal trial of the torture ringleader, former police Lt. Jon Burge.

ACTIVISTS IN Chicago got the word Monday afternoon in a phone message from police torture victim Mark Clements.

The Politics of Death

Throwing Mumia Abu-Jamal Under the Bus

Mumia Abu-Jamal
By: Dave Lindorff
This Can't Be Happening
Tuesday, June 29, 2010

"I would unite with anybody to do right and with nobody to do wrong."
--Frederick Douglass

On the evening of February 25, participants at the Fourth World Congress Against the Death Penalty in Geneva, Switzerland had assembled from all over the globe for a dramatic Voices of Victims evening. It got more dramatic than they had anticipated though, when suddenly a cell phone rang and Robert R. Bryan, lead defense attorney for Mumia Abu-Jamal, jumped up on the stage to announce that his client had called him from death row in Pennsylvania.

Burge found guilty of lying about torture

By: Matthew Walberg and Will Lee
Chicago Tribune
Monday, June 28, 2010
Former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge, the subject of accusations of torture against suspects for decades, was convicted today on all counts of an indictment charging him with perjury and obstruction of justice.

Burge was convicted of lying in a 2003 civil lawsuit about his use or knowledge of torture of criminal suspects.

Burge, his fingers clasped in front of him, showed no reaction as the verdict was read - guilty of two counts of obstruction of justice and one count of perjury.

The verdict marks the culmination of nearly four decades of controversy surrounding Burge, a 33-year department veteran, and the detectives under his command.