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ACLU of Kentucky: ‘Execution of Troy Davis highlights major flaws in death penalty system’

Similar to Troy Davis, the case of Gregory Wilson in Kentucky is mired with problems.

Similar to Troy Davis, the case of Gregory Wilson in Kentucky is mired with problems.

The ACLU of Kentucky, a KCADP member, issued this press release yesterday:

Troy Davis is set to be executed today at 7 p.m. for the murder of Georgia police officer Mark MacPhail. This is following an action yesterday by the Georgia board of pardons denying his clemency. Now, only the U.S. Supreme Court can halt the execution.

The story of Troy Davis’s struggle for justice has become infamous. Six of nine witnesses recanted their testimonies; several explained that police coerced them to name Davis as the shooter. Moreover, the murder weapon was never recovered and there is no physical evidence linking Davis to the crime.

The pending execution highlights Kentucky’s own cracked criminal justice system. Kentucky’s most recent pending execution was that of Gregory Wilson, who was scheduled to die in September 2010. Similar to Davis, Wilson’s case was mired with problems.

Wilson’s first attorney listed the phone number of a local bar as his contact and ultimately he ended up representing himself. Effective mitigating evidence was never presented. For example, evidence that may have demonstrated diminished capacity was never presented, evidence that could have barred him from ever facing a death sentence. Furthermore, Wilson’s co-defendant Brenda Humphrey, was the only witness to testify against him.  Humphrey, who did not get the death penalty, was engaged in an ongoing sexual affair with another Kenton County Circuit Court Judge during the time of the trial.

Wilson’s execution warrant was issued by Attorney General Jack Conway during his campaign for the United States Senate. Last fall, Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd temporarily halted all executions until the Kentucky Department of Corrections can adopt lawful execution protocols.  Furthermore, Kentucky’s execution drugs were confiscated by the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency following similar seizures in Tennessee and Georgia. Both the source by which the drugs were obtained as well as the efficacy of those drugs was challenged by the DEA. As a result Gregory Wilson still sits on death row.

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