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Reform Movement Applauds Supreme Court Action in Georgia Death Penalty Case


Pelavin: "The Reform Movement opposes the death penalty under any circumstances, but the application of the death penalty in a case where a defendant's guilt is in question is particularly distressing."

Contact: Kate Bigam or Barbara Weinstein
202.387.2800 | news@rac.org

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 17, 2009 - In response to the Supreme Court's action directing a Georgia federal trial court to review the facts in the case of death row inmate Troy Davis, Religious Action Center Associate Director Mark J. Pelavin issued the following statement:

We applaud the decision of the United States Supreme Court to order the Georgia district court to reopen and issue a new ruling on the capital case against Troy Davis.

The Reform Movement opposes the death penalty under any circumstances, but the application of the death penalty in a case where a defendant's guilt is in question is particularly distressing. The lack of physical evidence against Mr. Davis and the new information that has surfaced since his trial suggest that the initial proceedings did not sufficiently explore the facts of the case. We are proud of the role Reform Movement rabbis and activists, especially those in Georgia, played in calling public attention to Davis' case.

Mr. Davis was convicted for the murder of police officer Mark MacPhail in Savanna, GA, despite the fact that there was no physical evidence, no DNA, no smoking gun, tying him to the crime. On top of that, since his trial, 7 of the 9 witnesses in his case have recanted their testimony, some citing police pressure to testify.

We hope that the Georgia court will conduct a thorough, fair, and speedy trial and that justice will finally be served.

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The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the
Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose more
than 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership
includes more than 1800 Reform rabbis



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