New York Criminal Attorney: NY Criminal Defense – Bukh Law Firm

Scalia’s Death Row Lunacy

America killed a demonstrably innocent man and other than for a few small groups in Georgia, no one noticed. 

In August 1989, Mark MacPhail, an off-duty cop in Savannah, Georgia was working part-time as a security guard when he was shot and killed in a parking lot as he helped a homeless man being beaten by Sylvester “Red”  Coles — a local bully, thief, and drug dealer. 

Two years later, Troy Davis was convicted of killing MacPhail and received the death penalty. The only evidence at trial was nine eyewitnesses who claimed Davis shot MacPhail. 

The prosecution’s ‘star’ witness? Sylvester Coles. No tangible evidence ever linked Davis to the killing. No gun was found, and seven of the eight remaining ‘eyewitnesses’ recanted their claims despite a state law calling for prison sentences for witnesses who take back their story. 

Several of the eyewitnesses subsequently pointed to Coles as the killer and claimed they were coerced by cops to testify against Davis. 

The case against Davis, never strong to start, came off the rails. A Supreme Court Justice, Antonin Scalia, dissented when SCOTUS ordered an evidentiary hearing in Davis’ case. 

“The court,” said Scalia, “has never held the position the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a court that he is innocent.” 

Scalia took the position that it didn’t matter if Davis was innocent or not. Because of the ruling Davis was executed in Georgia in 2009. 

Scalia represented the backward thinking of a judge who believes a decision can be morally repugnant but legally ‘sound.’ 

Scalia’s position indicated that, as legal experts claim, Scalia believed it was constitutional to execute an innocent man. 

Since Davis appeared to receive a fair trial under American jurisprudence, he lost all access to ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ 

Davis was a twenty-year-old black man, and poor, who was defended by an underfunded public defender and received an inferior defense when compared to a defendant who had money. Davis was convicted solely on eyewitness testimony, testimony which has been proven to be unreliable. 

When Davis died in the execution chamber at Georgia’s Death House in Jackson, Georgia, all sense of liberty and justice died with him. 

159 persons have been released from Death Row because of DNA or other exculpatory evidence. 

Troy Davis was denied that luxury.