LIFE'S BETTER IN THE MOUNTAINS

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

SCOTUS and Innocence

Regular readers know that I do not often wax political. Heaven knows, if I did there I would have WAY too much to say. And I don't often select particular organizations or charities; there are simply too many of them. I do feel, however, that I must once more bring this man to your attention. Here is the latest information about Troy Anthony Davis.

On August 17, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) took an unusual step in the case of Georgia v. Troy Davis. Troy Davis was convicted (wrongly, I believe) in the shooting death of a police officer in 1991. His appeals have been exhausted despited increasing evidence that he is innocent. The Court has ordered a mandatory hearing for Troy Davis, giving him one last chance to prove his innocence.


(Troy Davis photograph from Amnesty International Website)


The evidence against Davis has fallen apart since the time of the trial. Most of the witnesses have recanted their testimony, indicating they were coerced by the police. No weapon was ever found and the evidence against Davis is completely from eyewitness accounts. There was no physical evidence provided at all. One of the witnesses not recanting his testimony has been accused of being the shooter in affidavits sworn by nine people.

In light of the very real indications that Davis is innocent, the SCOTUS allowed him a rare opportunity to have his conviction reviewed even after the appeal process has been exhausted. Antonin Scalia, one of the dissenting judges wrote the following:

"This Court has never held that the Constitution forbids the execution of a convicted defendant who has had a full and fair trial but is later able to convince a habeas court that he is 'actually' innocent.


In other words, Justice Scalia appears to believe that the Court has no obligation to prevent an innocent person from being executed. Does that frighten you? It certainly frightens me. Also dissenting to the Court decision to give Davis another hearing was...Scalia's clone, Clarence Thomas.

Read more about the Troy Davis case on the Amnesty International Website: http://www.amnestyusa.org/

9 comments:

KB said...

I'm so glad that the snippet you quoted was a dissenting opinion. Thanks for bringing this case to my attention - I'm going to follow it.

I agree that the quote by Scalia is truly scary.

KGMom said...

I have been reading about this case in the NY Times. It is indeed a scary thing. And, I sometimes wonder, why don't these judges who so rule EVER think--what if I were on the other side of the law.

robin andrea said...

Scalia's quote is shocking. I am reminded of the Blackstone formulation that says something like, "It's better to let 100 guilty ones go free than to execute one innocent." I guess Scalia missed that very important concept in law school.

Here's Blackstone's Formulation from wikipedia.

Busy Bee Suz said...

This story is just heartbreaking. I feel for this guy, he has not been given a fair chance. I hope for the best. Sometimes our justice system seems to fail big time...like now.

scienceguy288 said...

Scalia is an ass. I could be much harsher, but I will leave it at that. I don't want that negativity to spoil this great news. Hopefully Troy will be able to get the trial he deserves.

Cedar ... said...

if the eyes are the window to the soul,... then this man is innocent for sure. His eyes tell me so.

Rudee said...

Scalia's quote doesn't frighten me as much as the man himself. Truly.

For the record, I've been a card carrying, t-shirt wearing member of AI for years. It's a shame they have to spend funds to take up this cause in this country, in this day and age.

JeanMac said...

Every day one reads about similar cases - years spent in custody until DNA exonerates the person. Good post.

kks said...

wow, that is some scary stuff.....thanks for bringing to my attention....