Sunday, January 23, 2011

Troy Davis Team Back to U.S. Supreme Court

Troy Davis team back to U.S. Supreme Court

By Jan Skutch
Created 2011-01-22 00:19

Troy Anthony Davis' defense team Friday filed a two-pronged challenge before the U.S. Supreme Court in a renewed bid to spare his life.

Davis remains on Georgia's death row at Jackson from his murder conviction and death sentence in the 1989 slaying of off-duty Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail.

Washington, D.C., attorney Jason Ewart, a member of a team of lawyers for Davis, said Friday the dual appeals challenge both U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr.'s denial of a new trial and the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejection of his case in deference to the Supreme Court.

Moore ruled in August Davis had failed to present evidence that "clearly" establishes his innocence in two days of hearings in June.

He heard the evidence after the Supreme Court returned the case for a hearing on whether new defense evidence "clearly" established Davis' innocence.

Moore also rejected Davis' attempt to appeal his ruling to the appellate court instead of the Supreme Court.

The 11th Circuit judges rejected Davis' appeal in November, ruling it lacked jurisdiction.

Davis' attorneys contend the Atlanta-based appellate court should hear their appeal.

If the Supreme Court rejects that argument, then it should hear the case and reverse Moore's order, Ewart said.

"We actually filed two different things," Ewart said.

Davis' appellate team contends it has presented new evidence not available at Davis' 1991 trial to prove he was not guilty.

State attorneys argued the information is not new, but simply a rehash of evidence already rejected in earlier appeals.

MacPhail was slain early Aug. 19, 1989, as he rushed to assist a homeless man under attack over some beer in the parking lot of the Greyhound Bus Terminal/Burger King Restaurant at Oglethorpe Avenue and Fahm Street.

A Chatham County Superior Court jury took two hours to convict Davis on Aug. 28, 1991, in the MacPhail slaying. It recommended the death penalty.

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