News and Updates

Burge's legal woes over torture may not end even if acquitted

By: Matthew Walberg
Chicago Tribune
Sunday, June 27, 2010

Even if former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge is acquitted of perjury and obstruction of justice charges, his legal woes stemming from his alleged torture of suspects may not be over, and the detectives accused of participating in the abuse may find themselves in jeopardy as well.

The jury deciding Burge's fate is scheduled to resume deliberations Monday after conferring for its first full day on Friday. Burge is charged with lying in a civil lawsuit when he denied using torture against criminal suspects in the 1970s and 1980s.

Davis Hearing Wraps Up With Stunning Admission by Witness

By: Suzanne Ito, ACLU
Blog of Rights, ACLU
Friday, June 25, 2010

This week, for the first time a court heard evidence of Troy Davis's innocence of a crime he was convicted of almost 20 years ago. Davis was convicted of the 1989 murder of off-duty Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail.

Since his conviction in 1991, seven of the nine witnesses who testified against him at trial have recanted their statements. Of those seven, five testified this week that the police coerced them into lying and testifying against Davis. (The remaining two witnesses who had also recanted their testimony have died.) Among the testimony:

Judge must decide whether Troy Davis proved innocence in cop killing

Atlanta Journal Constitution
Friday, June 25, 2010

Condemned inmate Troy Anthony Davis got his day in court to present new evidence he contends proves he did not kill an off-duty policeman 21 years ago. After hearing all the evidence, a federal judge now must decide whether Davis should be spared from execution.

In closing arguments Thursday, a member of Davis' legal team contended police rushed to judgment and got the wrong man in the killing. But a state attorney countered that Davis had fallen far short of producing enough new evidence to convince anyone that he did not gun down Savannah police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail as he ran to the aid of a homeless man being pistol-whipped.

Troy Davis hearing ends; no date yet for decision on new trial

Savannah Now
Friday, June 25, 2010

Testimony that Sylvester "Redd" Coles fired the fatal gunshots into a Savannah police officer provides clear and compelling new evidence that Troy Anthony Davis should get a new trial, his lawyer argued Thursday.

Referring to testimony Wednesday by Benjamin Gordon that he saw Coles fire a shot into Mark Allen MacPhail on Aug. 19, 1989, attorney Jason Ewart argued, "This type of evidence is most important to this case."

Davis' attorneys have argued Coles, not Davis, killed MacPhail and that Savannah police committed to Davis as the murderer early on to the exclusion of all other suspects.

Death row inmates transferred to W. Maryland

Under cloak of secrecy, five condemned men are moved from Baltimore to Cumberland prison

By: Scott Calvert and Kate Smith
The Baltimore Sun
Friday, June 25, 2010
The five men on Maryland's death row were quietly moved this week from the hulking Baltimore prison once known as Supermax to a Western Maryland facility hailed recently as one of the most technologically advanced maximum-security prisons in the United States.

The transfer to the North Branch Correctional Institution near Cumberland was carried out amid such secrecy that even now state prison officials won't give any details — not even which day the condemned men were moved.

Deepening Doubt About Troy Davis' Guilt Following Historic Evidentiary Hearing in Georgia

States' Case "Thin and Tainted," Says Amnesty International

Amnesty International
Friday, June 25, 2010

At the close of the Troy Davis evidentiary hearing, Anne Emanuel, legal analyst for Amnesty International USA, released the following statement:

"Given the evidence that emerged from the two-day hearing it is clear that the state's case against Troy Davis is thin and tainted. Today's hearing underscores the deepening doubt that has plagued this case. It is difficult to imagine that a jury would convict Davis today after hearing 4 of the witnesses who convicted Davis 19 years ago testify in open court before a judge that they lied. One eyewitness testified for the 1st time that he saw his relative, the alternative suspect, Sylvester "Redd" Coles, shoot police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in 1989."

Witnesses back off testimony against Troy Davis

By: Bill Rankin
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Thursday, June 24, 2010

SAVANNAH -- Four witnesses who testified against Troy Anthony Davis at his 1991 trial said Wednesday that none of their damaging testimony against him was true.

The witnesses, whose prior testimony helped put Davis on death row for the killing of off-duty Savannah Police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail, said they were pressured by authorities to point the finger at Davis.

At the 1991 trial, Antoine Williams testified he saw Davis shoot and kill MacPhail late one summer night in 1989 in a Burger King parking lot. But Wednesday, Williams said he was too scared to see who actually fired the weapon.

Troy Davis rally report from Denton, TX.

By: Liz Clinton
Thursday, June 24, 2010

Denton, TX – Over 60 people gathered in the Texas heat to demand freedom for death row inmate Troy Davis on June 22nd as part of an international day of action. Davis who has been on death row in Georgia for 18 years is receiving an evidentiary hearing which began on June 23. This hearing was wrestled away from the system by the grassroots movement that supports Troy and his overwhelmingly strong case for innocence.

Troy Davis Rally report from DC

By: Bruce Wolfe
Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Rally in Support of Troy Anthony Davis, Death Row Prisoner

            Busy intersection of 14 Street and Park Road NW, amidst the noise and confusion of road repair, an estimated 25 opponents of the death penalty rallied  in support of the death row prisoner, Troy Anthony Davis. Davis, who was convicted of murder in a Georgia court in 1991 has been fighting for his life for twenty years. On Wednesday June 23, Davis will get still another review of his trial, once again in a Georgia courtroom.

Court Rules Against Angola 3's Albert Woodfox

No End in Sight to 38 Years in Solitary Confinement

By: James Ridgeway and Jean Casella
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Albert Woodfox has spent nearly all of the last 38 years in solitary confinement at the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola. His case has brought protests from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, who argue that Woodfox’s decades in lockdown constitute torture, and from a growing band of supporters, who believe that he was denied a fair trial. For more than ten years, he has been fighting for his release in the courts.