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You are here: MacNN Forums > Community > MacNN Lounge > Political/War Lounge > On why Clarence Thomas' presence on the SCOTUS ......

On why Clarence Thomas' presence on the SCOTUS ......
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OAW
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Jan 10, 2012, 04:49 PM
 
.... is an abject travesty. Case in point right here ...

The Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned a death row inmate's conviction of killing five people in the justices' latest slap at the conduct of prosecutors in the New Orleans district attorney's office.

The high court voted 8-1 to order a new trial Tuesday for Juan Smith, who was convicted of five murders at a 1995 party. The only witness to identify Smith, Larry Boatner, gave inconsistent statements about whether he could recognize or identify Smith as one of the killers.

Prosecutors under former New Orleans district attorney Harry Connick never gave Smith's lawyers those statements or other statements that could have been favorable to the defense. Prosecutors are required to do this under Supreme Court precedent.

"Boatner's undisclosed statements alone suffice to undermine confidence in Smith's conviction," Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the court's opinion.


New Orleans District Attorney Leon Cannizzaro said Tuesday they will retry Smith. "Tomorrow morning we will file a motion in this quintuple murder case to set it for trial within the next 60 days," Cannizzaro said in a statement.

Justice Clarence Thomas was the only dissenter. He said that the Boatner statements were not enough to believe that the jury would have found Smith not guilty.

"The question presented here is not whether a prudent prosecutor should have disclosed the information that Smith identified," Thomas said in his dissent. "Rather, the question is whether the cumulative effect of the disclosed and undisclosed evidence in Smith's case 'puts the whole case in such a different light as to undermine confidence in the verdict.'"

This is the second time in two terms that the Supreme Court has dealt with violations in the New Orleans prosecutor's office of so-called Brady rights, named after the Supreme Court's Brady v. Maryland case, which says prosecutors violate a defendant's constitutional rights by not turning over evidence that could prove a person's innocence. The high court earlier this year overturned a $14 million judgment given to a former death row inmate who was convicted of murder after the same New Orleans office withheld evidence in his trial. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in a rare oral dissent, called the prosecutors' actions "gross" and "deliberately indifferent."

Smith was convicted in eight 1995 killings. His Supreme Court appeal deals with a quintuple murder known in New Orleans as the Roman Street massacre, where armed intruders killed four people at a party. A fifth person died later, and Boatner escaped death by pretending to be unconscious.

Boatner gave differing statements about whether he could identify the shooters, but eventually identified Smith at his murder trial. Boatner's earlier statements, however, were not shared with Smith's lawyers.

The convictions in the Roman Street murder case were used against Smith at his next trial, a triple murder in which the ex-wife and 3-year-old child of New Orleans Saints defensive back Bennie Thompson were fatally shot, along with the ex-wife's fiancee. Conviction in that case landed Smith on death row. His appeal in that case is on hold pending the outcome of the Roman Street case.

The case is Smith v. Cain, 10-8145.
Court Overturns New Orleans Murder Conviction - ABC News

So former New Orleans DA Harry Connick, Sr. (yes ... he's the father of the famous jazz musician) has a HISTORY of withholding exculpatory evidence from defense attorneys ... and the only "evidence" tying the defendant to the crime is a single eyewitness who initially said he didn't see any faces to the police but later picked the defendant out of a line up. Scientific studies have shown repeatedly that eyewitness testimony is notoriously unreliable. But Clarence Thomas thinks the defendant would have been convicted anyway even if the potentially exculpatory evidence had been disclosed ... conveniently overlooking the fact that there was no other evidence AT ALL linking him to the crime. All of the Justices ... including far-right conservatives like Antonin Scalia ... recognized this for what it was. A blatant violation of the Brady rule which requires prosectors to handover any evidence that may be favorable to the defense in order to preserve a defendants's constitutional right to a fair trial. But true to form Clarence Thomas is the odd man out and refuses to acknowledge the obvious. Unfortunately, this isn't even surprising because you can bet your bottom dollar that Clarence Thomas will always side with the prosecution over the defense ... the strong over the weak ... the wealthy over the poor ... REGARDLESS of the circumstances or the evidence at hand. ESPECIALLY if there are minorities involved. To think that he is sitting in a Supreme Court seat once held by a great champion of justice like Thurgood Marshall. And people wonder why he is persona non grata amongst the overwhelming majority of African-Americans ...

OAW
     
The Final Dakar
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Jan 10, 2012, 04:55 PM
 
I dunno, I have a pretty low view of Scalia and he still sided with the majority.

I am perplexed by this statement:
"The question presented here is not whether a prudent prosecutor should have disclosed the information that Smith identified,"
It isn't?

Oh and I thought this read as something familiar:
This is the second time in two terms that the Supreme Court has dealt with violations in the New Orleans prosecutor's office of so-called Brady rights, named after the Supreme Court's Brady v. Maryland case, which says prosecutors violate a defendant's constitutional rights by not turning over evidence that could prove a person's innocence.
Edit: May I recommend paragraphs, sir?
     
k2director
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Jan 10, 2012, 08:05 PM
 
Thomas may also be "persona non grata amongst the overwhelming majority of African-Americans" because he doesn't sign up for the typical bullshit racial identity politics and perpetual victimhood/racial grievance platforms that so many blacks in the U.S. do.

A couple of years ago, the professional jackass Jesse Jackson said “We even have blacks voting against the healthcare bill. You can’t vote against healthcare and call yourself a black man.” What an appalling thing to say, and yet that imbecile is beloved by the black community. Clarence Thomas is a man first, and a black man second (or third, or fourth, etc.), and that's why he doesn't get much love from people he merely shares a skin tone with.
     
subego
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Jan 10, 2012, 09:08 PM
 
I'm always surprised when he does something other than "whatevs Scalia says. He's so awesome! And smart!"
( Last edited by subego; Jan 10, 2012 at 09:12 PM. Reason: Penis reference)
     
OAW  (op)
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Jan 10, 2012, 09:24 PM
 
^^^^^

There is that. Thomas typically votes in lockstep with Scalia. Which is why this decision even made it on to my radar screen.

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subego
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Jan 10, 2012, 09:40 PM
 
And then when he does, he just goes completely off the reservation.

"Strip searches for aspirin on 12-year-olds? Sure, why not?"
     
subego
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Jan 10, 2012, 09:57 PM
 
However, in a sense, decisions like that make me think his issue is less one of race relations and more one of plain old batshit.
     
OAW  (op)
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Jan 10, 2012, 10:10 PM
 
Clarence Thomas is Uncle Ruckus in a black robe. All day every day.



Uncle Ruckus - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

OAW
     
turtle777
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Jan 10, 2012, 11:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
However, in a sense, decisions like that make me think his issue is less one of race relations and more one of plain old batshit.
Leave it to OAW to marry racism and batshit.

-t
     
OAW  (op)
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Jan 11, 2012, 12:30 AM
 
^^^^^

As if the two are mutually exclusive. In any event … I see no one is stepping up to defend the decision Clarence Thomas made. And it's not the first time he's gone off the rails. So I'll just leave it at that.

OAW
     
BadKosh
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Jan 11, 2012, 08:45 AM
 
As if the 'legal system' doesn't already HAVE ISSUES.
     
The Final Dakar
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Jan 11, 2012, 10:05 AM
 
Why is 'legal system' in quotes?
     
SpaceMonkey
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Jan 11, 2012, 10:10 AM
 
Originally Posted by The Final Dakar View Post
Why is 'legal system' in quotes?
[email protected]!

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BadKosh
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Jan 12, 2012, 01:52 PM
 
You mean 0bama, or Owe-bama?
     
   
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