What, If He's Innocent We Can't Execute Him?

What, If He's Innocent We Can't Execute Him?

Abby Zimet


After 18 years on Death Row, Troy Davis will finally get a chance to prove his oft-stated innocence in a killing after the Supreme Court took the rare step of ordering a federal court in Georgia to re-consider his case. The decision comes after seven witnesses recanted their testimony against him, several people implicated a main witness as the killer, and 27 former prosecutors and judges filed a brief supporting Davis. Astonishingly, in a dissent from the court ruling, Justice Antonin Scalia argued that "actual innocence" is no reason not to execute someone. In light of his remarks, we again welcome Sonia Sotomayor, who did not rule on the case, to the court.

"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."

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