Friday, September 23, 2011

See Troy Davis aftermath video - Abolition of the Death Penalty

Death Penalty Abolition

Ga. Death Penalty Opponents Discuss Tactics
Updated: Thursday, 22 Sep 2011, 11:32 PM EDT
Published : Thursday, 22 Sep 2011, 10:21 PM EDT

Video by George Franco/MyFoxAtlanta
Supporters of Troy Davis insist the case will only strengthen their argument to abolish the death penalty, but death penalty advocates say the right man was put to death.
With the world watching, tensions flared and emotions went from elation to deep disappointment as protestors first thought Troy Davis’ life had been spared but later learned the Supreme Court did not halt his execution. His death pushed supporters to try to abolish the death penalty.
Davis was executed by lethal injection Wednesday for the 1988 murder of an off-duty Savannah police officer. In his final statement, Davis maintained his innocence.
“We intend for Troy’s name to stand for, in history, the beginning of the end of the death penalty,” said Janice Mathis of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition
The activist group rainbow push coalition met Thursday to devise a plan to do just that. They say doubt in the Troy Davis case, witnesses who recanted and questionable ballistics evidence will help convince more people that the death penalty is wrong.
“We're hoping ultimately, that the state of Georgia legislatures. as well as the federal legislature lawmakers review the death penalty and ultimately abolish it completely,” said Richard Holmes of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition
Jeff Wiggs, president of the Dekalb Fraternal Order of Police says only defense attorneys were going public with their doubts about details in the Davis case involving the murder of Savannah police officer Mark McPhail.
He says when more all information comes out, he believes most Americans will stand behind the death penalty decision.
“I think the majority of the people if they really took themselves away from all the atmosphere and all the hype and all the media coverage of this and really sat down and thought about it, most people, they want justice,” Wiggs said.
Members of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition say they are working with state lawmakers to try to convince members of the legislature to take a second look at the death penalty in Georgia.
Some of the roughly two dozen people at the meeting said they needed to register to vote new supporters who joined their cause over the Davis case. Joe Beasley of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition says members of the state Board of Pardons and Paroles should be ousted because they did not commute Davis' sentence.
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(Atlanta, GA – September 22, 2011) In the wake of the Troy Davis execution, the Southeast Region Rainbow PUSH Coalition urges members and supporters in Georgia to work to abolish the death penalty in Georgia and across the nation. On Tuesday, Rainbow PUSH convened a Town Hall Meeting to begin plans for a grassroots abolition effort. The meeting was chaired by Janice L. Mathis, Esq. with participation from Dr. Richard Cobble, President of Concerned Black Clergy, Joe Beasley Foundation and Helen Butler, Executive Director of the Georgia Coalition for the People’s Agenda,
1. Voter registration and education specifically aimed at young people on the issue of the death penalty, including Internet and text
2. Enlist support of celebrity spokespersons
3. Web and Internet presence aimed at attracting young supporters
4. Build strong ties and coordinate efforts among advocacy groups, including Amnesty International and Georgians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty
5. Unify and activate members of the clergy
6. Support state and federal legislation to outlaw the death penalty
7. Maintain regular contact with elected officials and provide a tool to voters to evaluate legislative voting records
8. Present suggestions for reform to the Georgia Criminal Justice Reform Council
9. Support legislation and regulation to provide more public access to Pardons and Parole deliberations
10. Participate as NGO’s in international forums, such as the United Nations, to highlight US death penalty issues
11. Encourage the legislature to study the use of the death penalty and eyewitness testimony in Georgia and adopt a moratorium on death penalty executions and prosecutions until the study is completed. Adopt the ABA recommendations, at a minimum.
12. Educate the public about the race and class-based history of the death penalty
According to Janice L. Mathis, regional VP of Rainbow PUSH indicated, “Existing safeguards are inadequate. The only way to assure that innocent people are not executed is to abolish executions. Our system cannot achieve the moral certainty required to assure fair and accurate imposition of the death penalty. Existing legal standards of proof and evidence are insufficient and unlikely to change.”
While we build a coalition for abolition, we will support reform measures like Congressman Hank Johnson’s Effective Death Penalty Appeals Act. Johnson, along with Congressman Bobby Scott of Virginia and John Conyers of Michigan urged the Georgia Pardons and Parole Board to grant clemency to Davis. In 2006, the American Bar Association assessed the death penalty in Georgia and recommended a moratorium. To view the report, including problems with the Georgia death penalty and recommendations for reform, visit

The discussions and action will continue at weekly meetings of the GCPA, CBC and monthly Rainbow PUSH Coalition meetings. To get involved, call Richard Holmes, chair of the RPC criminal justice committee at 404 525 5663, or visit