Troy Davis execution highlights witness unreliability
By ANDY COGHLAN - NEWSCIENTIST
Added: Thu, 22 Sep 2011 22:37:58 UTC
Many of you commented on the initial posting of this, at the time planned, execution here.
Troy Davis was executed last night as planned by the state of Georgia
Troy Davis, convicted in 1991 of killing an off-duty police officer, was last night executed in Jackson, Georgia, despite an international campaign to throw out the conviction.
The execution, backed by the US Supreme Court, brings to an end a sustained campaign to clear Davis on the grounds that witnesses misidentified him as the murderer of Mark MacPhail.
Seven of the nine original witnesses in the case have since recanted their statements in sworn affidavits, throwing the spotlight back onto the reliability of witness statements. Some of the jurors have also changed their minds about Davis's guilt.
The issue of witness reliability will arise again on 2 November when the Supreme Court hears the case of Barion Perry versus the state of New Hampshire, in which a single witness identification was central to Perry's conviction for robbing a car in 2008.
Last month, the supreme court of New Jersey became the first in the US to issue strict new rules on the admissibility of witness identification. As a result, judges in New Jersey must now warn juries on the potential shortcomings of each witness's evidence.
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