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June 3, 2009 at 11:27 AM   |   Comments

SAVANNAH, Ga., June 3 (UPI) -- The first black district attorney in Chatham County, Ga., must get involved in a controversial, racially tinged death penalty case, advocates say.

Larry Chisolm of Savannah, Ga., has been urged by the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and others to intervene in the case of death row inmate Troy Davis, whose supporters say was railroaded because he is a black man accused of shooting a white police officer to death in 1989, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.

The Congressional Black Caucus also is urging Chisolm to reexamine the Davis case as the courts move toward setting an execution date.

Hopes for Davis rose with the election of Chisolm to replace former district attorney Spencer Lawton Jr., who was portrayed unflatteringly in the book, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." But, Chisolm is in a tight spot because a move to reopen the case could alienate his white supporters, the Times said.

"It's a Catch-22 for him," Rev. Matthew Southall Brown, a longtime African-American leader in Savannah, told the newspaper. You're damned if you do, and damned if you don't."

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