Florida Timely Justice Act Challenge Before the Florida Supreme Court - Update

Here's the status of the pending challenge to the Timely Justice Act as passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Florida Governor Rick Scott, as of July 25:

From the Florida Supreme Court's online docket:

1.  On July 16, 2013, the Florida Supreme Court granted the Motion for Leave to File Amicus Curiae Brief filed by the Florida State Committee of the American College Trial Lawyers but struck its accompanying brief because the two documents were filed together as one, single filing.  The movants were directed to re-file their brief as a separate document on or before July 19.  

2.  This was done on July 16.

3.  On July 18, The Attorney General for the State of Florida, Pam Bondi, filed the State's Response to the  Emergency Petition to Invoke all Writs Jurisdiction, to Declare Unconstitutional Provisions of the Timely Justice Act of 2013, and for Immediate Temporary Injunctive Relief.  

Bondi is arguing that there is a lack of jurisdiction and that the arguments advanced in the Emergency Petition are "meritless,"  with lots of argument based upon the separation of powers doctrine (no surprise there).

4.  On July 19, 2013, the pro se motion of Charles Finney to Join the Emergency Petition was granted. Read his motion online here.

 

Florida Timely Justice Act Challenge Before the Florida Supreme Court - Update

Here's the status of the pending challenge to the Timely Justice Act as passed by the Florida Legislature and signed into law by Florida Governor Rick Scott, as of July 25:

From the Florida Supreme Court's online docket:

1.  On July 16, 2013, the Florida Supreme Court granted the Motion for Leave to File Amicus Curiae Brief filed by the Florida State Committee of the American College Trial Lawyers but struck its accompanying brief because the two documents were filed together as one, single filing.  The movants were directed to re-file their brief as a separate document on or before July 19.  

2.  This was done on July 16. Read the Amicus brief filed by the ACTL here.

3.  On July 18, The Attorney General for the State of Florida, Pam Bondi, filed the State's Response to the  Emergency Petition to Invoke all Writs Jurisdiction, to Declare Unconstitutional Provisions of the Timely Justice Act of 2013, and for Immediate Temporary Injunctive Relief.  

Bondi is arguing that there is a lack of jurisdiction and that the arguments advanced in the Emergency Petition are "meritless,"  with lots of argument based upon the separation of powers doctrine (no surprise there).

4.  On July 19, 2013, the pro se motion of Charles Finney to Join the Emergency Petition was granted. Read his motion online here.

 

FBI Forensic Experts May Have Led to 27 Wrongful Death Penalty Convictions

 Forensic evidence gets lots of respect from juries -- some call it "the CSI effect" after the popular TV show (in all its spin-offs).  However, this month we have even more news that justifies a less trusting view of evidence coming from a lab and being used to put someone behind bars -- or on Death Row.

The Washington Post has reported that there may be up to 27 Death Penalty convictions in this country where the forensic experts from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) made mistakes.

Big mistakes.  Twenty-seven Death Row sentences.  

Apparently, these FBI lab experts may have tied defendant to crimes that they did not commit using puffed-up scientific testimony.

We'll know more later this summer when the FBI is going to release its tally with all the details of what cases, what experts, what testimony.  Meanwhile, these Death Penalty cases are part of a larger group of 120 convictions that may be wrongful convictions based upon bad FBI forensic evidence.

What's this review all about?  It's a review being done of FBI Lab files by the Department of Justice and the FBI with the National Association fo Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) and the Innocence Project watching what's happening.

The review sprang out of earlier Washington Post investigations, where it was reported that the federal government had known for a very, very long time that its hair experts may have provided bad forensic evidence that had led to wrongful convictions - and that no one had done much to investigate these hair experts or to stop bad convictions from happening.

If you think this is just a FBI Lab glitch, think again.  

Over in Texas, one single Houston Crime Lab technician named Jonathan Salvador has become infamous in some circles because his work has put literally THOUSANDS of criminal convictions in the State of Texas in question - read the final report on how bad this is from the Texas Forensic Science Commission.

Infographic: Former San Quentin Warden on the Death Penalty

 

ACLU Slideshow - Texas Death Row Cell

 The ACLU has a slideshow of various photographs demonstrating the horror of living on Texas' Death Row.  Check it out here.

One example -- this photo of one man's cell on Texas Death Row -- here is where the inmate must eat, sleep, read, etc.

No wonder the ACLU has entitled their piece "a Death before Dying."

 

 
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