[JURIST] A three-judge panel of the US Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals [court website] on Friday granted [order, PDF] a provisional stay of the execution of Troy Anthony Davis [defense website], which had been scheduled [GA AG press release] for Monday, October 27. In granting the stay, the Eleventh Circuit directed the parties to address through briefs whether Davis can meet the stringent requirements of federal law that would permit him to file a second habeas corpus petition for federal review of his case. Davis was sentenced to death in 1991 for the killing of off-duty Savannah, Georgia police officer Mark MacPhail. In ordering the provisional stay of execution, the Eleventh Circuit wrote:
Upon our review of the record, we conclude that Davis has met the burden for a provisional stay of execution. [citation omitted] Therefore, we grant Davis a conditional stay of execution and direct the parties to address whether Davis can satisfy the stringent requirements enunciated in 28 U.S.C. [Section] 224(b)(2). Specifically, the parties shall address the questions whether Davis previously raised his claim of actual innocence, whether he could have previously discovered the factual predicate for the claim through the exercise of due diligence, 28 U.S.C. [Section] 2244(b)(2)(B)(i), and whether he can show that the facts underlying his claim, if proven and viewed in light of the evidence as a whole, would be sufficient to establish by clear and convincing evidence that, but for the constitutional error, no reasonable factfinder would have found (Davis) guilty of the underlying offense. ... Finally, the parties are directed to address whether Davis may be executed if he can establish actual innocence under 28 U.S.C. [Section] 2244(b)(2)(B)(ii), but cannot satisfy his burden under [Section] 2244(b)(2)(B)(i).AP has more. The Savannah Morning News has local coverage.
The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] rejected Davis' petition for certiorari [JURIST report] appealing his death sentence earlier this month, lifting their own stay on his execution. According to defense lawyers, key witnesses against Davis have recanted their testimony, and others say another person has since confessed to the killing. The Court had stayed Davis' execution [JURIST report], which had been scheduled for September [GA AG press release], pending consideration of his case. The certiorari denial allowed Georgia to set the new October 27 execution date. The Court had previously denied a petition for certiorari in the case, and the Georgia Supreme Court [official website] in March denied [court docket; opinion summary] Davis' request for a new trial.