Monday, August 17, 2009

Asshole of the Day: Antonin Scalia

In 1989 Tony Davis was given the death penalty for the murder of an off-duty Savannah police officer. During the trial and the appeal process Davis claimed he was innocent. His lawyers repeatedly argued that Davis had ben falsely identified. After the trial all but one of the IDing witnesses recanted their testimony. In the last twenty years no court has been willing to hear the new evidence which would show that Davis did not kill the police officer.

Today the Supreme Court ruled that that a federal judge judge must look at the evidence before the execution can go forward. And guess what, Antonin Scalia and his bitch Clarence Thomas thought that was bullshit. Scalia wrote:

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. Quite to the contrary, we have repeatedly left that question unresolved, while expressing considerable doubt that any claim based on alleged “actual innocence” is constitutionally cognizable.

In other words: Whether one is actual innocent or not. If an individual is convicted of a crime than he/she committed the crime even when there is clear evidence that someone else committed a crime.


_J_ said...

"actually" innocent


Mike Lewis said...

yup "actually"

_J_ said...

It does raise a question of the fundamental nature of laws and punishments. In that sense the "actual" in quotes makes sense.

If legal systems are inherently concerned with The Truth then determining "actual" innocence is the goal.

If legal systems are concerned with "beyond a reasonable doubt" or the legal process itself, then the "actual" innocence may not be a concern.

Scalia might be saying "The legal system does not care what happened. The legal system cares about what a judge / jury thinks happened."

Maybe. Theory of Law is stupid.

_J_ said...

Or not.

Roscoe said...

Or not?

did I miss counter-evidence?

or is this a stealth ::bump::?

_J_ said...

When someone implies that a legal system may not care about the truth one expects some sort of reply to that.

Roscoe said...

My understanding of the situation is that Scalia is basically signalling that the issue at heart relates to the inability of habeas courts to even decide something on this level.

Then again.. now I've confused myself, looking further into it.. and getting something very different than what I first saw.


I do know Scalia's fond of pointing out precisely and specifically what the constitution doesn't speak one way or another on... like the idea that becuase torture wasn't PUNISHMENT, even though it might have been cruel or unusual, it was constitutionally permissable..

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