Does a Supreme Court Justice just say, "oops"?
Today in NC two innocent men were freed 30 years after being wrongfully convicted of murder. Which means for thirty years the innocent 11 year old girl left lying in a field after being raped and suffocated to death didn't get justice. Which means that for thirty years the real killer did not pay for his crime. Which means that for thirty years, the real killer was able to destroy the lives of even more innocent people.
Both men, who have IQ's below 70 falsely confessed to crime. As is usual in these situations, they confessed after hours and hours of pressure, locked in a room. Contrary to what people believe, people do confess to crimes they didn't commit.
According to a University of Virginia report released Aug. 21, nearly 20 percent of defendants who have been exonerated by DNA evidence had falsely confessed to the crime.
DNA found at the scene and finally tested after all of these years, exonerated the two men. The prosecutor did not even oppose the Motion to dismiss the charges against the two men. In fact, the DNA implicates a man already convicted of similar crimes at a time very close to the time this crime was committed. But really, at this point, the exoneration of innocent men is hardly big news. At least 317 people have been exonerated by DNA evidence.
The real news is below the fold:
What is news in this NC case is that the arrogance and wrong-headedness of a member of the U.S. Supreme Court has been put on display for everyone to see. In 1994 the Supreme Court turned down a request to hear the appeal in Mr. McCollum's case. Justice Harry A. Blackmun, an eventual opponent of the death penalty had voted to hear the case. Justice Blackmun noted that Mr. McCollum had the mental age of a 9-year-old and said "this factor alone persuades me that the death penalty in this case is unconstitutional." In fact, Justice Blackmun had completely renounced the death penalty in general saying he would, "no longer tinker with the machinery of death". He said that decisions involving the death penalty were too subjective and prone to human error for the death penalty ever to be administered constitutionally.
Unfazed by Justice Blackmun's concerns, Justice Antonin Scalia accused Justice Blackmun of attempting to "thrust a minority's views upon the people." Scalia strongly maintained that society had a need for the death penalty as an appropriate punishment for the most heinous of crimes. In fact, as evidence for his opinion he wrote about two cases before the Supreme Court at the time, which he believed made death by lethal injection look "enviable." One of those cases concerned the brutal rape and murder of 11-year-old Sabrina Buie, committed in Red Springs, North Carolina. That case, the one that Justice Scalia found to be most deserving of the death penalty, is the murder for which these two men were exonerated today.
Henry McCollum was 20 when he was sentenced to death for committing the crime Scalia described. Today, he walked out of prison a free man. Like most of those who are exonerated, Mr. McCollum is looking forward instead of backward. But the ability of these two men to forgive and forget doesn't mean that the rest of us should ignore the fact that, contrary to the opinion of a Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, neither of these men deserved a day in prison, much less execution. The arrogance of a society that thinks taking another person's life is justified so long as they had "a fair trial" is on full display. The belief that any system that relies on fallible humans can ever be reliable enough to kill in the name of the Government shows a complete lack of understanding basic human nature. It isn't often that a Supreme Court Justice is shown just how utterly wrong his opinions are. Luckily today, at least two men have overcome a system designed to convict the accused and have proven just how fallible our highest court can be. I wonder what Justice Scalia has to say now.
"Let's live on the planet as if we intend to stay."