U.S. Supreme Court

Supreme Court Denies Cert for Inmate Asserting Actual Innocence

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The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal by a death row inmate who claims the Eighth Amendment bars execution of those who are actually innocent.

Troy Anthony Davis had received a stay of execution as the court considered his cert petition. The court’s refusal to hear the case today clears the way for the state to set a new execution date, SCOTUSblog reports.

Seven of nine witnesses at Davis’ trial for killing a police officer have since recanted their testimony. Davis’ lawyers had said in their cert petition that the case “allows this court an opportunity to determine what it has only before assumed: that the execution of an innocent man is constitutionally abhorrent.”

Larry Cox, executive director for Amnesty International USA, called the court’s refusal to hear the case “truly shocking,” reports 3OnYourSide News.

“Faulty eyewitness identification is the leading cause of wrongful convictions, and the hallmark of Davis’ case,” Cox said. “This was an opportunity for the court to clarify the constitutionality of putting the innocent to death—and in Davis’ case, his innocence could only be determined with a new hearing or trial.” Now his claim of innocence will not have a chance to be examined, he said.

The Georgia Supreme Court had denied Davis an evidentiary hearing in a 4-3 decision.

In a different death-penalty case, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the appeal of an Ohio inmate who said he was too fat to be executed, CNN.com reports. Richard Cooey was executed this morning as scheduled.

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