A Year After Troy Davis: What’s Changed?

His execution captured the nation; 12 months later, there's still a spotlight on the death penalty.

Demonstrators outside prison where Davis was executed in 2011(Erik S. Lesser/AFP/Getty Images)
Demonstrators outside prison where Davis was executed in 2011(Erik S. Lesser/AFP/Getty Images)

The flawed makeup of the jury was also noted in 2002 by a U.S. District Court judge who ruled that Clemons’ death sentence should not stand because six prospective jurors had been improperly excluded during jury selection. A higher court later overturned the ruling on technical grounds.

But the fight goes on. Since the group launched its appeal to save Clemons’ life, more than 70,000 people around the globe have taken action to demand justice for him, according to Amnesty International. More than 1,300 men and women have been executed in the United States since capital punishment resumed in 1977. In 2011, 43 men were put to death; 27 have been executed so far this year.

Troy Davis’ Family Continues to Fight

 Moye said that the “I Am Troy Davis” movement is still alive, even though the family experienced more loss after the execution. Less than three months after his execution, his sister Martina Correia, who led the effort to free her brother, died of cancer. Their mother died in April 2011. But his nephew, De’Jaun Davis-Correia, and another sister, Kim Davis, have continued to champion his cause, along with the help of civil rights organizations.

Quoting Scripture, Kim Davis spoke at Thursday’s news conference. She, like other speakers, echoed her brother’s request not to allow the struggle for justice to end with his death. She pointed to Clemons’ case and called on the judge to look closely at the facts so that he could make a right and fair decision.

“I want you to join with me as we continue to fight for justice,” Davis, who claims to have documentation showing that her brother did not commit murder, said during the news conference.

Rashad Robinson, executive director of ColorOfChange.org, the nation’s largest African-American online political organization, spoke to The Root about the importance of continuing the cause. His group led a campaign to save Troy Davis’ life, arguing that seven of the nine witnesses had changed their stories and no physical evidence linked Davis to the crime.

He remembers being outside the prison when the last-minute news came that the Supreme Court was going to review Davis’ case. “Now, I’m 33 years old, and I grew up in the era of court TV shows where lawyers swoop in and save a person’s life,” he told The Root. “The human being in me that wanted to be [the] optimist believed that they couldn’t possibly kill Troy Davis. And then he was executed. But we haven’t given up on our fight against the death penalty.”

Lynette Holloway is The Root’s Midwest bureau chief.

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