After a long, drawn-out battle with a state that was dead set against even considering the possibility that it had made a mistake, Troy Davis and his supporters won a major victory when they convinced a Federal court to hear arguments over whether there was enough evidence of a botched prosecution to justify a new trial. Today, that court heard those arguments.
Federal judges weighed Tuesday whether condemned inmate Troy Davis has presented enough evidence to stop his execution.Last month, a three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta halted Davis’s scheduled execution — the third time his life was spared shortly before he was to be put to death. The judges called their stay “conditional” and scheduled arguments on the appeal.
One judge, Joel Dubina of Montgomery, indicated Tuesday he did not think Davis’s claims are compelling enough to warrant a new court hearing. Another judge, Rosemary Barkett of Miami, said she would like to see Davis’s innocence claims fleshed out in court.
The third judge, Stanley Marcus of Miami, closely questioned lawyers as to whether Davis had cleared the enormously difficult legal thresholds needed to allow his appeal to go any further.
Sounds like a split court. Dubina, a Bush I appointee, thinks not. Barkett, a Clinton appointee, thinks yes. And nobody knows what Marcus, another Clintonite, thinks. He seems to be keying on technical aspects and they can go either way in a case like this.
Still, Troy Davis is still alive and his lawyers have a strong case to present to a Federal court that for once isn’t loaded down with W’s ultraconservative ideologues.
Davis deserves a new trial. The first one was a travesty that Georgia should be ashamed of.