Tue., June 30, 2009 4:05pm (EDT)

Top Court Puts Off Davis Hearing
By Valarie Edwards
Updated: 5 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Unidentified protestor attends rally for Troy Anthony Davis (photo by V. Edwards)
Unidentified protestor attends rally for Troy Anthony Davis (photo by V. Edwards)
The United States Supreme Court has recessed for the summer, without taking action on the case of Georgia death row inmate Troy Anthony Davis.

Davis has been on death row since 1991, convicted in the slaying of off-duty Savannah police officer Mark McPhail.

His execution is now on hold.

Since the Davis trial, seven witnesses have withdrawn or recanted their earlier statements.

Davis’ lawyers appealed to the nation's highest court after two lower courts denied his request for a new trial.

Jason Ewart is Davis' death penalty attorney.

He says the delay is a good sign.

"I do not think we have to read tea leaves too deeply to see that this was not a housekeeping matter. They held it over for substantive reasons. The Supreme Court doesn't like to deal with state cases, especially state criminal cases, and if it could avoid having to do so, they would appreciate that."

The Supreme Court will decide in September whether it will hear Davis' latest request for a new trial.

If the court refuses to hear the request, it is likely Davis will be executed sometime later this year.