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Plea for delay of Georgia execution

UPDATE Wednesday p.m.   The state of Georgia urged the Supreme Court not to delay the scheduled execution of Troy Anthony Davis on Sept. 23.  In an opposition brief, found here, the state said Davis’ current appeal lacks merit, so there is no basis for delaying the execution until the Justices act on that appeal.


A Georgia death-row inmate — whose claims of innocence, based on a series of changed stories by witnesses against him, have given his case high visibility — asked the Supreme Court on Tuesday to delay his execution, now set for Sept. 23.  Troy Anthony Davis, sentenced to death for the slaying of an off-duty police officer in Savannah, has an appeal  that the Justices are scheduled to consider at their first Conference Sept. 29 (Davis v. Georgia, 08-66).  The key issue his petition (available here) raised is whether the Court will rule — in a way it has only assumed previously — that it is unconstitutional to execute a person who is innocent of the crime, and has substantial evidence to support that claim.

Davis currently has an application for stay awaiting action by the Georgia Supreme Court, which earlier rejected his claims of innocence but refused to order a hearing on them.  In the meantime, his counsel has filed his backup application for a stay with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as Eleventh Circuit circuit justice, pending action on his petition for review.  Thomas may act on his own on refer the application to the full Court.