Troy Davis was granted a provisional stay of execution on Friday, just three days before he was scheduled to be put to death. He has been on death row for 17 years for a crime he maintains he did not commit.
Troy Davis had exhausted his ordinary appeals against his conviction and death sentence, and the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles had denied clemency. On 22 October, his lawyers applied to the 11th Circuit Court for an emergency stay of execution and for permission to file a second habeas corpus petition, maintaining that his execution would be unconstitutional.
In its decision issued on Friday, the three-judge panel concluded that Troy Davis had met the burden for a provisional stay of execution. The court then ordered the parties to address the question of whether Troy Davis can satisfy "the stringent requirements" under federal law to get back into court for further appeals on his innocence claim.
Davis’s lawyers have to file their written arguments within 15 days of the 11th Circuit’s order. After receiving this brief, the government has 10 days to file its response. If the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decides that Troy Davis has not met his burden under the federal statute to be able to pursue further appeals, the State of Georgia could again move to set another execution date.
More than 300,000 people in the USA and around the world have appealed for executive clemency for Troy Davis. Among them are former US President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Pope Benedict XVI; the European Union, the European Parliament, and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.