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Still Guilty, After All These Years

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Bill Rankin reports in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

A federal judge on Tuesday emphatically rejected condemned inmate Troy Anthony Davis' claims that he was wrongly convicted of killing a Savannah Police officer in 1989.
In a 174-page order, U.S. District Judge William T. Moore Jr. said Davis had failed to prove his innocence during an extraordinary hearing this summer ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Ultimately, while Mr. Davis' new evidence casts some additional, minimal doubt on his conviction, it is largely smoke and mirrors," Moore wrote. "The vast majority of the evidence at trial remains largely intact, and the new evidence is largely not credible or lacking in probative value."
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Moore did answer one question posed by the U.S. Supreme Court. He found that executing an innocent person would violate the Eighth Amendment's ban against cruel and unusual punishment.

"However, Mr. Davis is not innocent," Moore wrote.

For those who have been around the death penalty debate for a while, there is a sense of deja vu about all this. Eighteen years ago, the Supreme Court took up the case of Herrera v. Collins, 506 U.S. 390 to address the monumental question of whether a strong case of actual innocence was sufficient to block an execution, even though there was no claim that any violation of federal law or the Constitution occurred in the the trial. Once they got their hands on the case, though, the Supreme Court discovered an inconvenient truth: Herrera was guilty as sin. "Oh, never mind."

3 Comments

Gee, it only took the court two months to issue an opinion instead of two decades, a la the 9th Circuit.

The brave cop's mom is still alive. Here's hoping she can get justice quickly.

And Kevin Cooper still awaits execution.

"largely smoke and mirrors"--that's gotta leave a mark.

The smoke and mirrors crowd got caught this time. They are on a never ending quest to find the ideology driven decision makers who will accept fiction as fact, and there are plenty of them. The decision makers who are not so inclined should consider calling out, in no uncertain terms, those capital defenders, and there are plenty of them, who game the system at the expense of victims.

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