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Public Statements

Letter to Chairman James E. Donal Georgia State Board of Pardons & Paroles

Dear Chairman Donald:

As Members of Congress, we acknowledge the seriousness with which the Georgia State Board of Pardons and Paroles makes decisions regarding clemency in death penalty cases. We appreciate the time spent in 2007 and 2008 by the Board to examine the case of Troy Anthony Davis.

We applauded the Board's decision to stay the execution of Troy Davis in July 2007. In the decision, you stated that the Board "will not allow an execution proceed in this State unless and until its members are convinced that there is no doubt as to the guilt of the accused." However, a year later, on September 12, 008, the Board denied Troy Davis's request for clemency. This fact was alarming given that doubts about Troy Davis's guilt had not been resolved.

Since 2007, there have been three stays of execution and an extraordinary evidentiary hearing conducted by the federal district court in Savannah, Georgia. While the judge presiding over that hearing ruled that Troy Davis had not established his innocence to the high standard required by the Court, he admitted that the case "may not be ironclad."

Considerable doubts as to Troy Davis' guilt remain.

Several witnesses testified at the evidentiary hearing that they had been coerced into making statements implicating Troy Davis at trial. At the hearing, one witness testified for the first time that he saw another suspect in this case commit the crime. The credibility of various witnesses was challenged by the state of Georgia, and the judge in that case agreed. Many of these same witnesses, whose credibility is now questioned, were essential to obtaining Troy Davis' original conviction.

It is clear now that the doubts plaguing Davis's case can never be adequately addressed; the lack of hard scientific or relevant physical evidence has made it impossible to resolve with any degree of certainty. Over the last four years, the inability of our courts to resolve these3 uncertainties has shaken pubic confidence in our judicial system, and an execution under such a cloud of doubt would do nothing but further undermine that confidence. Public faith in the integrity of justice in Georgia is at stake and it is for this reason that we urge you to grant clemency for Troy Davis.

The state prerogative of clemency exists for those cases that fall through the cracks, to prevent potentially grave injustices when our judicial system cannot. This is just such a case, and the power of clemency resides in your hands. Commuting Troy Davis' sentence would surely allay people's fears that Georgia would contemplate executing a potentially innocent man.

Thank your for considering our request.

Sincerely,

Henry Johnson
Emmanuel Cleaver
Sanford Bishop
Andre Carson
Bennie Thompson
Cedric Richmond
Donald Payne
John Lewis
Jesse L. Jackson, Jr.
Bobby L. Rush
Barbra Lee
Donna Christensen
Alcee Hastings
Frederica Wilson
Ed Towns
Marcia Fudge
Yvette Clarke
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Charles B. Rangel
Jim McDermott
Sheila Jackson-Lee
Gwen Moore
David Scott
GK Butterfield
Danny K. Davis
Robert C. Scott
Bob Filner
Fortney Stark
Laura Richardson
John Conyers, Jr.
Maxine Waters
Robert A. Brady
Dennis J. Kucinich
Karen R. Bass
Hansen Clarke
Luis V. Gutierrez
Corrine Brown
James Moran
Jan Schakowsky
Gregory Meeks
John Olver
Raul M. Grijalva
Chaka Fattah
Keith Ellison
Jose E. Serrano
Jerrold Nadler
Eddie Bernice Johnson
Donna F. Edwards
Tammy Baldwin
Elijah Cummings
Al Green


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