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Thread: US death row inmate loses bid to prove his innocence

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    US death row inmate loses bid to prove his innocence

    WASHINGTON — A court ruled Tuesday that Troy Davis, a death row inmate given a rare second chance by the US Supreme Court, had failed to prove his innocence, clearing the way for his execution.

    A highly unusual hearing was ordered in June for Davis, who has been on death row since 1991 for murdering a policeman, because seven of the nine witnesses against him had recanted testimony in the years since his trial.

    But a court in the southern US state of Georgia decided on Tuesday that Davis, an African-American, had been unable to show that he was innocent of the fatal shooting of a white police officer in 1989.
    Here is the problem I have with this decision:

    1) In America, the burden is on the prosecution to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant is guilty.

    2) Seven of the nine witnesses for the state say that they were pressured by police to implicate the defendant.

    3) The state's total case rested upon this testimony, as there was no other evidence linking him to the crime.

    4) If the testimony is coerced, then the testimony is not any good.

    5) If the testimony is not any good, then at the very least, reasonable doubt exists.

    So why must the defendant have to prove himself innocent, especially after prosecutorial misconduct in his trial? It does not make sense to me. And, if it turns out that the defendant is indeed innocent, then he is today's poster boy on why the death penalty should be abolished. I believe that this will go back to SCOTUS, which will overturn the verdict and sentence.

    On another note, this happened in Georgia, which makes me very happy, as the spotlight will be off Texas for a few days, well at least for a couple of days anyways.

    Article is here.
    Last edited by danarhea; 08-24-10 at 05:32 PM.
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    Re: US death row inmate loses bid to prove his innocence

    Interesting. I'm trying to find the opinion online, but at first blush I find it extremely disturbing to shift the burden to the defendant in any case, much less in a capitol punishment case.

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    Re: US death row inmate loses bid to prove his innocence

    Oh Georgia, I love you, but come on.
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    Re: US death row inmate loses bid to prove his innocence

    The burden of proof is always on the plaintiff (except in specialized arguments such as affirmative defenses). And when you initiate an appeal, even if you were the defendant at trial, you become the plaintiff.

    Now, don't jump down my throat about this case. You asked; I'm simply answering as a matter of law and procedure.
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    Re: US death row inmate loses bid to prove his innocence

    FWIW, the Supreme Court's opinion is here, and Scalia's dissent is here.

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    Re: US death row inmate loses bid to prove his innocence

    A technologically advanced and prosperous society employing the death penalty is troubling to me.
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    Re: US death row inmate loses bid to prove his innocence

    Quote Originally Posted by Morality Games View Post
    A technologically advanced and prosperous society employing the death penalty is troubling to me.
    A society unable to remove certain elements from within due to cowardice troubles me more.
    Climate, changes. It takes a particularly uneducated population to buy into the idea that it's their fault climate is changing and further political solutions can fix it.



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    Re: US death row inmate loses bid to prove his innocence

    the risk of executing an innocent man is enough to make me oppose the death penalty. I doubt the death penalty is really much more of a determent than life in prison anyways.
    I use a lot of satire and sarcasm so keep that in mind when reading my posts.

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    Re: US death row inmate loses bid to prove his innocence

    Quote Originally Posted by Harshaw View Post
    The burden of proof is always on the plaintiff (except in specialized arguments such as affirmative defenses). And when you initiate an appeal, even if you were the defendant at trial, you become the plaintiff.

    Now, don't jump down my throat about this case. You asked; I'm simply answering as a matter of law and procedure.
    While that is true, seven of nine witnesses saying they pressured by police and you still aren't able to get an appeal. That is kind of scary.

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    Re: US death row inmate loses bid to prove his innocence

    I think one thing we really have to consider is that not all recanted testimony is legitimate. There is a lot of recanted testimony because of political pressure, coercion by the appeals lawyers, the fact that there is really no penalty for recanting your testimony many years later so big deal if I give a brother a second chance. If one or two recant, it becomes a little easier for the third and so on to recant. So I am just saying you have to consider both sides. That being said it is beyond scary what I have seen regarding police and prosecutors protecting a conviction they know in their hearts to be probably false yet they are willing to let someone die or rot in jail anyway.

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