Georgia Board of Pardons and parole gives Troy Davis a 90 day stay of execution so they can consider the evidence of his innocence — that the eyewitnesses on the basis of whose testimony he was convicted have recanted — the very evidence that the courts are prohibited by federal law from considering.
Someone or other mentioned to me yesterday that in a sick way Davis is lucky he got the death penalty since that meant some people were paying attention to the case and a minor ruckus eventually got raised. Suppose Davis had just been sitting in prison on a 20-to-life sentence, would anyone have even noticed? The extent to which the criminal justice system allows for the railroading of poor people with little means is simply off the charts, and the incredible reliance on wildly unreliable eyewitness testimony is a big part of the issue.
UPDATE: Wait, wait; it looks like the Board of Pardons and Paroles may not actually have the power to pardon, only to commute the sentence to life in prison. Oy. If the man’s innocent, he’s innocent.