Supreme Court Rejects Troy Davis Case, Gives Green Light for His Execution

This morning, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to consider the case of Georgia death row prisoner Troy Anthony Davis, giving the go-ahead for his execution. The Court's decision came mere weeks after it blocked Davis's execution at the last minute so that the justices could examine his appeal, something they were scheduled to do six days later anyway. Davis was less than two hours away from the death chamber on September 23, when the Court intervened; it was the second time Davis had come within hours of death; last summer, the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole granted a temporary reprieve based on overwhelming evidence of his possible innocence. Among other factors, seven out of nine eyewitnesses who testified against Davis at trial have since recanted, with some saying they were coerced by the police. Of the two who have not recanted, one, a man named Sylvester Coles is said by many to be the real murderer.

Troy Davis has been on death row since 1991, having been convicted of the 1989 killing of a white police officer in Savannah, Georgia. Read more about the case here.

The Supreme Court's decision this morning -- in which the judges refused to consider whether executing a potentially innocent person violates the 8th Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment -- could mean that Davis will be executed as soon as two weeks from now. He is out of legal avenues, and the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles has denied clemency. There is no execution date scheduled yet; the Georgia DA must seek a new death warrant first. Go here for information on what you can do to pressure the state of Georgia NOT to go through with this execution.

Davis has won the support of hundreds of thousands of people worldwide, including President Jimmy Carter, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and the Pope. Georgia Congressman and Civil Rights icon John Lewis has firmly stated his belief in Davis's innocence; as he told Amy Goodman on the morning of the September execution date, "race is everything in this case."

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Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
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