Articles Tagged with Conviction

On Monday, the Supreme Court released its 6-3 decision in Skinner v. Switzer. Skinner was convicted of capital murder in Texas, and sought to compel DNA testing to prove his innocence. Texas Code of Criminal Procedure Chapter 64 bars defendants who did not request testing at trial from doing so post-conviction. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the defendant may seek access to the testing in federal court under 42 USC 1983, or whether that remedy was only available through a writ of habeas corpus under 28 USC 2254.

The Court held that federal courts have jurisdiction to hear the defendant’s complaint in a Section 1983 civil rights action. Defendant neither was seeking “speedier” release from custody in the action, nor was he challenging a Texas court’s ruling on merits. He was only challenging their interpretation of the law. This ruling allows the federal court subject matter jurisdiction over the defendants’ claim–it does not reach the merits. Defense attorneys are pleased with this ruling because it “slays the procedural dragons” that inhibit petitioners’ efforts toward exoneration in federal court.

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Conviction movieConviction” tells a compelling tale of the love that siblings can have for one another, and the lengths to which some families will go to seek justice for their kin. This legal drama draws you into the movie from the outset, making you feel that you should have served on the legal team for Kenny Waters. Sam Rockwell, who plays Kenny, deftly portrays the wide range of emotions experienced by a person who has been wrongfully convicted of murder.

The opening of the film aptly sets the scene. The camera pans inside a trailer home with blood-stained walls depicting raging violence. We soon learn that the victim’s murderer brutally stabbed her more than 30 times. While chopping firewood for his grandfather, Kenny is soon accused by a local police officer of brutally murdering his neighbor.

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