Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Conservative Jurisprudence - Dred Scott 2009

Then (1857):
Dred Scott (1799 – September 17, 1858), was a slave in the United States who sued unsuccessfully in St. Louis, Missouri for his freedom in the infamous Dred Scott v. Sandford case of 1857. No one knows exactly when he was born. His case was based on the fact that he and his wife Harriet Scott were slaves, but had lived in states and territories where slavery was illegal, including Illinois and Minnesota (which was then part of the Wisconsin Territory). The United States Supreme Court ruled seven to two against Scott, finding that neither he, nor any person of African ancestry, could claim citizenship in the United States, and that therefore Scott could not bring suit in federal court under diversity of citizenship rules. Moreover, Scott's temporary residence outside Missouri did not effect his emancipation under the Missouri Compromise, since reaching that result would deprive Scott's owner of his property.
Better to preserve injustice and the system than have justice then.... And, apparently, now:
In 1993, William Osburne was convicted of kidnapping, assaulting and raping a woman in Anchorage, Alaska. He spent the next 14 years of his life behind bars. Osburne insists that he is innocent, the State of Alaska has in its possession DNA evidence which will once and for all prove his guilt or innocence, and Osburne has offered to pay for DNA testing out of his own pocket. Allowing Osburne to prove—or disprove–his claim of innocence will cost Alaska literally nothing.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court held today in a 5-4 decision by Chief Justice Roberts that Osburne is out of luck. Although Roberts conceded that “[i]t is now often possible to determine whether a biological tissue matches a suspect with near certainty,” he determined that Osburne has no right to pay for a test that could exonerate him for a crime he did not commit. Allowing Osburne to prove his potential innocence, Roberts said, risks “unnecessarily overthrowing the established system of criminal justice.”
It's criminal JUSTICE. I think Supreme Court, packed with wing-nuts, has lost sight of that concept...

No comments: