Category Archives: Amnesty International

Troy Davis Appeal Rejected by SCOTUS

It was never much of a chance, not with the robotic law-and-order types conservatives have been able to get assigned to the US Supreme Court filling up the seats, but it was a chance. If there was enough pressure, enough noise, enough people asking uncomfortable questions, maybe even Fat Tony Scalia might have reconsidered for the sake of his almost certainly unpleasant legacy the way he did over some labor law – which he hates – when a woman got screwed. Again.

But it wasn’t much of a chance and now it’s over. The Supreme Court has refused to hear Troy Davis’ appeal for a new trial.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday cleared the way for Troy Anthony Davis’ execution, declining to enter a contentious debate as to whether the condemned inmate was the real killer of a Savannah police officer in 1989.

The court, without explanation, refused to hear his appeal even though seven of nine key prosecution witnesses have recanted their testimony since the 1991 trial. Just three weeks ago, the high court had halted Davis’ execution with less than two hours to spare.

The family of the dead officer, Mark MacPhail, is thrilled. They want Davis dead whether he’s the right guy or not, mainly because they want their part of this ordeal to be over.

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Davis Execution Delayed

Five hours before Troy Davis was scheduled to die in the electric chair for a crime he almost certainly didn’t commit, the Supreme Court decided to consider whether or not to hear his plea for a new trial. A scant two hours before his execution time, the Justices ordered a stay until such time as they make that decision.

In its order, the U.S. Supreme Court said if the justices decline to accept Davis’ appeal, “this stay shall terminate immediately.” If the appeal is granted, the stay will remain in force until the high court issues its ultimate ruling on Davis’ appeal, the order said.

The decision is scheduled for Monday. As Thomas Nephew pointed out in his blog, newsrack, in turning down Davis’ appeals, the Georgia Board of Pardons and the State Supreme Court ignored some fairly heavy legal advice.

But the Georgia State Board of Appeals has already rejected a bid for clemency, unmoved by appeals from the pope, Jimmy Carter, and former FBI director William Sessions’s opinion that a closer look at the case is warranted.

The Georgia board can still change its mind; please urge them to do so here (Amnesty International USA).  Meanwhile, if you’re the praying sort, now’s the time to start.  Troy Davis’s execution is set for 7pm today.

The post was put up before the SCOTUS’ order, but the urgency isn the same. Troy Davis has one more week of life if the SCOTUS turns down his appeal. Click Thomas’ lionk and add your voice. We need everybody.

Cardinal Demands Catholics Stop Supporting Amnesty International

The National Catholic Register reports that the president of the apparently ironically named Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Renato Martino, is telling Catholics they should withdraw all support from Amnesty International. Three guesses why and you won’t need the last two.

Abortion has driven a wedge between the Catholic Church and an organization that began as an ally.

Amnesty International (AI) was founded in 1961 by Peter Benenson, a British convert to Catholicism. But today, as a result of Amnesty International’s recent decision to promote abortion rights, Church leaders say that Catholics should withdraw all financial support from the London-based human-rights organization.

“I believe that, if in fact Amnesty International persists in this course of action, individuals and Catholic organizations must withdraw their support, because, in deciding to promote abortion rights, AI has betrayed its mission,” Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said in an e-mail interview.

(emphasis added)

Sadly, a man I used to greatly respect for his dedication to justice for all has caved in to his church’s primeval stance.

The abortion policy has already cost Amnesty International the support of one long-time Catholic backer: Jesuit Father Daniel Berrigan.

Said Father Berrigan, “One cannot support an organization financially or even individually that is contravening something very serious in our ethic.”

This was a man who fought for the right of Catholic Americans to divorce, who supported Bill Baird when he was illegally passing out condoms in public, and who supported Roe v Wade because he had seen the results of too many back-alley abortions. After being beaten about the head and shoulders with the blunt instrument of ultra-conservative Catholicism for 40 years, he has apparently had enough. Perhaps Benedict threatened to ex-communicate him if he didn’t publicly renounce AI, I don’t know.

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