Could Troy Davis Have Been Saved by NC-Like Innocence Panel?


Fifteen hours after Troy Davis was executed last week in Georgia, two men walked out of a North Carolina prison after being exonerated of a murder they had pleaded guilty to committing more than a decade ago, reports the Associated Press. The different results may be explained, at least partly, by a one-of-a-kind system for examining innocence claims that North Carolina began in 2005.

That process eventually freed Robert Wilcoxson and Kenneth Kagonyera from a lockup in Asheville, N.C. “If Georgia had the North Carolina Innocence Inquiry Commission, I believe Troy Davis today would be free instead of dead,” said Mark Rabil, a defense lawyer and co-director of the Innocence and Justice Clinic at the Wake Forest University School of Law. Prosecutors say, however, that wrongful convictions are rare and that prosecutors try to make sure innocent people never are charged.

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