The Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear an appeal by a Georgia man facing execution for the 1989 murder of a police officer, declining to decide whether the death penalty should be ruled out for a defendant who presents strong evidence of innocence. The order clears the way for Georgia to proceed with the execution of Troy Anthony Davis, 40. It was issued three weeks after the high court granted him a stay with less than two hours to spare, reports the Washington Post.
In refusing to hear a full appeal, the court maintained the high bar it has set for assertions of innocence after convictions in capital cases. Georgia now can set a new date for Davis’s execution, because the court’s stay expired with yesterday’s order. The 1991 death sentence against Davis came under scrutiny after seven of nine witnesses who helped convict him recanted their testimony or changed their statements. Several told of being pressured by police to tell them what they wanted to hear. Three other people have said a man who identified Davis as the killer had confessed to being the triggerman. The case has become a cause celebre for death penalty opponents.