Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Troy Davis and the little things

1) So the Supreme Court kindly gave Troy Davis an opportunity to prove his actual innocence before the state of Georgia kills him, which they have remained intent on doing even as their case has fallen apart and pointed to a more likely suspect. They did so without answering the real question presented which is whether relief is available to a defendant who can prove actual innocence but otherwise has no viable legal claim of error. Once upon a time, Chief Justice Rehnquist famously declared, "Proof of actual innocence is not grounds for appeal."

That's a pretty cold-hearted sentiment grounded in the notion that finality is necessary in all cases. It's a sentiment that Scalia and Thomas were eager to embrace in yesterday's ruling. They would have foreclosed Davis from properly presenting his case, opting instead to send him on his date with the executioner because the law said it was ok. Scalia thinks it won't matter if Davis can prove his case because no relief is available to him.

Some think it's interesting that the Court didn't address the question of whether actual innocence is in itself grounds for relief, but I like the way they set this up. Either the district court will find Troy Davis has proven actual innocence or it won't. If the court says not, then the actual innocence issue isn't before the Court. If the district court says Davis has proven his case, well then we will truly put the actual innocence question to the test. Will Scalia and Thomas have the nerve to order the execution of a man even after a fact-finding court has declared him actually innocent? By remanding the case for the fact-finding first, before ruling on the legal question, have Stevens et al just called Scalia's bluff?

2) As to the actual issue of Troy Davis' case, I don't know whether he is actually innocent or not. What I do know is he could not possibly be convicted on the evidence as it stands today. There is far too much evidence pointing to the other guy to get the state past reasonable doubt. Given that, how can we be ok with killing him?

3) My kitchen ceiling did not cave in. The rain stopped. The main source of the leak has been identified and corrected. My case did not get through the day as well.

4) The students are back, making my drive to and from the carpool far more treacherous. I generally don't mind the kids, but I do mind the added drive time in the morning just because of the heavier traffic.

5) Who's excited for Project Runway?!
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1 comment:

mellancollyeyes said...

I'm excited for Project Runway!

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