Friday, October 24, 2008

Federal Appeals Court Issues Stay of Execution for Troy Anthony Davis in Georgia

Court issues stay of execution for Troy Davis

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Friday, October 24, 2008

The federal appeals court in Atlanta on Friday stayed the execution of Troy Anthony Davis, who was scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection Monday evening.

“Upon our thorough review of the record, we conclude that Davis has met the burden for a stay of execution,” the court said in a ruling issued by Judges Joel Dubina, Rosemary Barket and Stanley Marcus.

Davis, 40, recently lost an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Davis is on death row for the Aug. 19, 1989, murder of 27-year-old Savannah police Officer Mark Allen MacPhail. Since Davis’ trial, seven of nine key prosecution witnesses have recanted their testimony.

The defendant’s claims of innocence have drawn opposition to his execution from leaders across the globe, including former President Jimmy Carter and Pope Benedict XVI.

Davis’ lawyers expressed relief and jubilation over the court’s decision.

“This is the first step toward a court hearing to consider the new evidence — something we have been asking for for almost a decade now,” attorney Jason Ewart said.

Neither MacPhail’s mother or sister had heard the news when a reporter called. The officer’s 75-year-old mother, Anneliese, declined to comment until she had more information.

MacPhail’s sister, Kathy McQuary, cried.

Earlier this week, Davis asked the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for permission to pursue another round of appeals in federal court on claims he is actually innocent. Permission for a new round of appeals is required under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996.

On Friday, the court said the stay of execution is conditional. Davis must make a showing he can meet the “stringent requirements” to pursue another round of appeals, the decision said.

The court directed Davis’ lawyers to file a legal brief on their arguments within 15 days. The state Attorney General’s Office has another 10 days to respond.

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