US Supreme Court may decide on Davis case

By Don Logana - bio | email

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - Thursday, the US Supreme Court was expected to review a request from attorneys on whether or not it will hear the case of convicted killer Troy Anthony Davis.

Davis has been on death row for 18 years for the murder of Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail. Since Davis' conviction in 1991, there have been numerous appeals and several stays of execution.

Now the future of the case rests in the hands of the US Supreme Court.

"That's a close call," Jason Ewart, Davis' attorney told WTOC. "Unfortunately, the way court systems work, they don't like to overturn convictions."

We caught up with Ewart by phone Thursday. He says the courts haven't granted them what they wanted, yet, but insists judges are divided on the case.

"Let's just say every judge who looked at the case did not say, oh this is hooey," Ewart said.

Ewart says the case, as it exists today, boils down to credibility, new evidence and seven witness recantations.

"For God sake, we want a one day hearing for witnesses to be heard to judge credibility. That hasn't happened," he said. "Because some looked at papers, they think this case is resolved. That is not true. No judge has looked at it."

"I just want peace of mind," Annaliese MacPhail, Mark MacPhail's mother, said adding she isn't sure anything will give her closure in her son's death.

While protestors continued rallying support for Troy Davis in her hometown of Columbus, Georgia, after clemency hearings, appeals and stays of execution, Annaliese doesn't believe the Supreme Court decision will bring her any closer to justice.

"I hope it is the end. I pray it is the end. I want it over with. I will never have closure. No way. Mark will always be in my mind and my heart will never heal completely," she said.

If the US Supreme court passes on the case, Ewart says the next step will be appealing to the new Chatham County district attorney Larry Chilsolm to reopen the case locally.

"We have to hope there are some good people in Georgia who are deliberate and fair and don't take a ministerial approach and say, 'I don't have an opinion on the case let's kill him anyway,'" Ewart said.

The US Supreme Court will not decide if they will take the case until Monday morning. There is also an outside chance they will want more information, which could delay a decision until September.

The Chatham County District Attorney's office will not comment on the case until the Supreme Court decision is announced.

They do however, call this a highly unusual case. Monday morning, there will be a delivery to Chisolm's office, including more than 10,000 signatures from petitions for him from Troy Davis supporters and the NAACP asking him to reopen the case.

His lawyers and countless Davis supporters say his case deserves to be reopened because seven of the original nine witnesses have recanted their testimony.

After being issued a stay of execution in October 2008, Davis' lawyers filed an appeal with the 11th Circuit Court in December 2008, claiming that executing him for MacPhail's murder would violate his constitutional rights.

After reviewing the case for more than four months, the 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals denied Davis' appeal in April.

Then in May, another appeal, this time to the US Supreme Court. Davis' lawyers filed an appeal with the US Supreme Court asking for a hearing in Federal Court.

The US Supreme Court may decide Thursday if they will hear the case or deny it. If they allow the appeal to go through, the case will be sent to the federal US District Court in Savannah.

If they deny it, a new execution date will be set for Davis by Chatham County.

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