A US Supreme Court order mandating a new evidentiary hearing for death-row inmate Troy Anthony Davis, has been welcomed by Amnesty International.
In a 6-2 ruling, the nation's highest court decided that Davis should have another chance to prove his innocence before the state of Georgia puts him to death.
"We are grateful that the nation's highest court has seen the wisdom in granting a new evidentiary hearing to Troy Davis," said Laura Moye, director of Amnesty International USA's Death Penalty Abolition Campaign.
"For years Amnesty International has maintained that this man's compelling case of innocence needs to see the light of day. Finally it will. Given the lack of hard evidence tying Davis to Officer MacPhail's murder, it would be nothing short of unconscionable to put him to death as a means of conveniently tying up loose ends. Finally there is an opportunity for justice to truly be served.”
Under the Supreme Court's order, the District Judge presiding over the new hearing should "receive testimony and make findings of fact as to whether evidence that could have been obtained at the time of trial clearly establishes [Davis'] innocence."
Davis was convicted in 1991 of killing Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail. Authorities failed to produce a murder weapon or physical evidence tying Davis to the crime.
Seven of the nine original state witnesses have recanted or changed their initial testimonies in sworn affidavits. One of the remaining witnesses is alleged to be the actual perpetrator.
Since the launch of its February 2007 report, Where Is the Justice for Me?, Amnesty International has campaigned intensively for a new evidentiary hearing or trial, as well as clemency for Davis, collecting hundreds of thousands of clemency petition signatures and letters from prominent individuals around the world.