Saturday, May 23, 2009

Unusual SCOTUS Case

For those of you that are interested in actions at the Supreme Court (SCOTUS), there is an unusual case coming before the court. This is a plea for an "original" habeas writ. The case involves...

Davis was sentenced to death after being convicted of the murder of a Savannah, Ga., police officer on August 19, 1989. Since the trial, seven of the nine witnesses who said Davis had done the killing have recanted their trial testimony, saying they were coerced by police or were subjected to questionable interrogation tactics. Davis’ lawyers also said that newly discovered witnesses have said that another man at the scene committed the murder of Officer Mark MacPhail, and that the other man himself had confessed to friends.

In the new petition, Davis’ counsel wrote that “a study of federal habeas case law reveals no case in which seven State witnesses have recanted their testimony, much less a case with seven recantations supplemented by four confessions from the alternative suspect. Moreover, the recantations presented to this Court are to the rare variety: recantations from State witensses who were innocent bystanders.”

Almost all recantation cases over the past ten years that have been summarily rejected without an evidentiary hearing involved recantations from accomplices or a family member” of the accused, the petition said. Source: SCOTUS Blog

It will be interesting to see how this one plays out.

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