The majority of the Supreme Court decided that maybe those claims of innocence were worthy of a look before it's too late:
Troy Anthony Davis has been languishing on Georgia’s death row for over 15 years for purportedly killing an off-duty police officer. There are serious questions about his guilt given that:
- There is no physical evidence linking him to the offense, and no murder weapon has been found.
- Eyewitnesses have recanted their stories.
- There are accusations of police intimidation of witnesses.
The Supreme Court on Monday took the rare step of ordering a federal judge to consider the innocence claims of condemned Georgia prisoner Troy Anthony Davis, who has mounted a global campaign to declare he was wrongfully convicted of murder and barred by federal law from presenting the evidence that would prove it.And Scalia dissents in disgusting fashion:
Joined by Justice Clarence Thomas in dissent, however, Justice Antonin Scalia criticized his colleagues for thinking that mere innocence is grounds to overturn a conviction:
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.
So in Justice Scalia’s world, the law has no problem with sending an innocent man to die. One wonders why we even bother to have a Constitution.In Justice Scalia's world, one rather gets the sense that the spirit of the Constitution is surplus to requirements.
Thankfully, the majority of our justices do not live in such a world, and therefore did the right thing. I have a feeling I know which set of Justices the Founders would be proudest of today.