Afternoon Philosofail

By Cathleen Falsani 09-20-2011

2308371224_60e0cda6e8A philosophy professor of mine from college, who is also a Facebook friend, just posted a link to the following item, without comment (although I could hear what he was undoubtedly thinking from 900 miles away), on his profile page.

If you're anything like me, reading this brief entry from Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress.org titled, "Scalia says there's nothing unconstitutional about executing the innocent," will no doubt do more to raise your blood pressure than the afternoon latte you were just contemplating.

Millhiser reports in part:

Almost two decades ago, Troy Anthony Davis was convicted of murder and sentenced to die. Since then, seven of the witnesses against him have recanted their testimony, and some have even implicated Sylvester "Redd" Coles, a witness who testified that Davis was the shooter. In light of the very real evidence that Davis could be innocent of the crime that placed him on death row, the Supreme Court today invoked a rarely used procedure giving Davis an opportunity to challenge his conviction. 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."

(That crashing sound you just heard was Jesus throwing his lava lamp against the office wall.)

Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed in Georgia tomorrow after the state board of paroles and pardons refused his plea for clemency.

Amnesty International has issued an urgent action alert with information on how to get involved in last-minute protests and actions, including one at 7 p.m. EST today at the state capitol in Atlanta and another at 6 p.m. EST today at Tivoli Square (near the Columbia Heights Metro stop) in Washington, D.C.


kts4zm-b78577971z.120091127100631000gj2l3qjr.22-180x200Cathleen Falsani is Web editor and director of new media for Sojourners. She is author of the new book BELIEBER!: Fame, Faith and the Heart of Justin Bieber.

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