Supreme Court said innocent evidence is not enough

Washington post

Washington post

Last December, supreme court Gathered to hear oral arguments Shin vs RamirezAn incident that could mean the life or death of Barry Jones, sitting in a condemned prison in Arizona for the rape and murder of his girlfriend’s 4-year-old daughter, Rachel.

In 2018, a federal court overturned Jones’ conviction and concluded that he did not receive an effective lawyer. This is an infringement of his sixth amendment.If that happens, a federal judge Domination“It is reasonable that his jury would not have convicted him of any of the crimes he was charged with and previously convicted.”

After losing the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, the Attorney General of Arizona appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. During those oral arguments, state prosecutors repeatedly argued that “innocence is not enough” as a reason to abandon Jones’ conviction.

The Supreme Court agreed in a 6-3 vote on Monday morning. Barry Jones’ innocence isn’t enough to keep him away from death row. Arizona can kill Jones even if there is plenty of evidence that Jones is not committing a crime.

The Supreme Court never kills the death penalty, even if the execution fails

The crime that Jones was convicted of is horrifying.Girl Rachel died of peritonitis The result of her small intestine rupture Arizona argued that it came from repeated physical and sexual abuse.

However, Jones’ lawyer did not question the physical evidence that led to his conviction. As Liliana Segura, an investigative journalist at The Intercept Pointed out in a thorough work last year:

“There was a lot we could do to protect our clients if Jones’ lawyers were doing their job. They bothered to find out when and how the child was fatally injured by the chief detective who saw Rachel at the hospital. I should have been able to point out that I didn’t think of one suspect other than Jones. They called a medical expert to show that there was no real evidence that the child was raped. Most importantly, Jones’ lawyers could call a pathologist to challenge the state’s criminal theory, which is based on a narrow time frame in which Jones appears to have attacked Rachel the day before his death. It should have been possible. Medical experts now say that Rachel’s abdominal injury couldn’t have been fatal so quickly. “

At the time of his trial, Jones was appointed as a lawyer by the state. This is a basic constitutional right guaranteed to all criminal defendants under the Sixth Amendment. If the defendants allege that they did not receive appropriate advice after being convicted, they will be appointed as a new legal representative. If the new lawyer also offers an ineffective lawyer, a federal Habeas appeal can claim that the post-convicted lawyer was ineffective.

In effect, Jones claimed to have received two ineffective counsel instead of one. And the mistake isn’t in him, but in his lawyer appointed by Arizona. By allowing him to introduce evidence of his innocence, the federal court will effectively correct the mistakes made by his lawyers as well as the state responsible for appointing them.

In the case of 2012 Martinez vs RyanThe Supreme Court ruled that the convicted defendant “is not liable for failing to file a claim of invalidity in the state court,” opening the door to an appeal as Jones has filed.

On Monday, the court eradicated the precedent set by Martinez.

In that decision Judge Clarence ThomasThe court said that the federal court “cannot conduct preliminary hearings or consider evidence beyond state court records on the basis of the ineffective support of lawyers after the state’s conviction.” I have ruled. In short, a convicted defendant like Jones could be held liable and put in jail if a lawyer appointed by his state provided an ineffective lawyer for his appeal. ..

It even creates a really strange, Orwell situation.

How can a defendant claim ineffective advice if he cannot point out a concrete example of that ineffective advice? And how else can they do that, other than introducing new evidence that would not have been presented in court? Thomas says that, in effect, petitioners must rely on records of trials in which they were not effectively defended — and their actual innocence is of secondary importance.

Thomas courts by arguing that federal examination imposes “significant costs” on the state’s criminal justice system, including potentially invalidating the state’s sovereignty to enforce “social norms through criminal law.” Justifies the decision.

Some may argue that detaining a man who has not actually committed a crime in a condemned prison in Arizona is “substantially expensive.” Some may further argue that executing an innocent man not only justifies the criminal justice system, but also imposes far greater social costs on the man whose state has come to an end.

Sonia Sotomayor as justice Described in her dissenting opinion“By a court decision, many people convicted of violating the Sixth Amendment will face imprisonment or the death penalty without a meaningful opportunity to prove their defense counsel’s rights.” Called this ruling “twisted” and “illogical,” but it does not completely justify its obscenity.

The SCOTUS decision could allow an innocent man to be killed by the state, primarily for procedural reasons. In this case, even Arizona’s appeal against a federal court decision is truly corrupt. The state may have sought a new trial or released Jones. Instead, state prosecutors appealed to the Supreme Court and, if they won, risked the death of a man when he was highly suspicious of his guilt.

What social goals do such results promote? Why do prosecutors run the risk of killing an innocent man? How does it benefit the cause of justice?

But much worse, the Supreme Court is ready to ratify Arizona’s disability ruling.

As Jonathan Zaslov, a law professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, told me, some of the issues were that “the conservative majority of courts are entitled to the effective support of lawyers. I haven’t fully accepted it. “

“We can argue that the lack of finality due to the new allegations raised in Habeas is costly. All prisoners file new allegations that” I have been denied effective assistance. ” can. “Zasloff said. “So, as a society, do we want to pay the price to prevent innocent people from being killed? Not for these people. That’s all about the right to life.”

The same court that appears ready to capsize Roe v. Wade To protect innocent people before they are born, they seem to lose interest when they become innocent people in later life.

Still, this decision is not surprising to the court’s close watchers. Thirty years ago, a court ruled that the presentation of innocent and delayed evidence by convict on death row does not necessarily mean that federal courts have the right to hear their claims. Judge Antonin Scalia went a step further, “the Constitution has no grounds, traditions, or even modern practices that grant the right to require a judicial review of newly discovered innocent evidence raised after conviction.” Said.Judge Harry Blackmun with angry dissent Explained the majority of reasoning “It’s almost like a simple murder.”

In their decision on Monday, conservative members of the court ratified Scalia’s corrupt ideas. Simple logic suggests that proving one’s innocence is sufficient to overturn a tort conviction and ensure that an innocent man or woman is released. Such moments are the emotional highs of countless Hollywood movies. That’s the way most Americans want to imagine that our judicial system should work.

But the reality is completely different, as the current Supreme Court and the increasing refusal to follow long-standing precedents, basic social norms, and simple moral structures. For the Supreme Court of Land, Arizona, which kills innocent people, symbolizes its smooth functioning, not the overthrow of the criminal justice system.

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