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Clarence Thomas writes one of the meanest Supreme Court decisions ever.

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Derechos Donating Member (892 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:13 PM
Original message
Clarence Thomas writes one of the meanest Supreme Court decisions ever.

In 1985, John Thompson was convicted of murder in Louisiana. Having already been convicted in a separate armed robbery case, he opted not to testify on his own behalf in his murder trial. He was sentenced to death and spent 18 years in prison14 of them isolated on death rowand watched as seven executions were planned for him. Several weeks before an execution scheduled for May 1999, Thompson's private investigators learned that prosecutors had failed to turn over evidence that would have cleared him at his robbery trial. This evidence included the fact that the main informant against him had received a reward from the victim's family, that the eyewitness identification done at the time described someone who looked nothing like him, and that a blood sample taken from the crime scene did not match Thompson's blood type.

1963, in Brady v. Maryland, the Supreme Court held that prosecutors must turn over to the defense any evidence that would tend to prove a defendant's innocence. Failure to do so is a violation of the defendant's constitutional rights. Yet the four prosecutors in Thompson's case managed to keep secret the fact that they had hidden exculpatory evidence for 20 years. Were it not for Thompson's investigators, he would have been executed for a murder he did not commit.

Both of Thompson's convictions were overturned. When he was retried on the murder charges, a jury acquitted him after 35 minutes. He sued the former Louisiana district attorney for Orleans Parish, Harry Connick Sr. (yes, his dad) for failing to train his prosecutors about their legal obligation to turn over exculpatory evidence to the defense. A jury awarded Thompson $14 million for this civil rights violation, one for every year he spent wrongfully incarcerated. The district court judge added another $1 million in attorneys' fees. A panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the verdict. An equally divided 5th Circuit, sitting en banc, affirmed again.


But this week, writing on behalf of the five conservatives on the Supreme Court and in his first majority opinion of the term, Justice Clarence Thomas tossed out the verdict, finding that the district attorney can't be responsible for the single act of a lone prosecutor. The Thomas opinion is an extraordinary piece of workmanship, matched only by Justice Antonin Scalia's concurring opinion, in which he takes a few extra whacks at Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's dissent. (Ginsburg was so bothered by the majority decision that she read her dissent from the bench for the first time this term.) Both Thomas and Scalia have produced what can only be described as a master class in human apathy. Their disregard for the facts of Thompson's thrashed life and near-death emerges as a moral flat line. Scalia opens his concurrence with a swipe at Ginsburg's "lengthy excavation of the trial record" and states that "the question presented for our review is whether a municipality is liable for a single Brady violation by one of its prosecutors." But only by willfully ignoring that entire trial record can he and Thomas reduce the entire constitutional question to a single misdeed by a single bad actor.

http://www.slate.com/id/2290036

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Davis_X_Machina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:15 PM
Response to Original message
1. Props to the man....
...his dissent in Hudson v. McMillan is hard to top.

I like a veteran who's still trying to raise his game up a notch.
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wellst0nev0ter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #1
30. Nah, I Think His Lone Dissent in Miller-El v. Dretke
was and still the most outrageous. It's like he's either trying to prove something or just wants to piss off every decent person in America.
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Davis_X_Machina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 06:48 PM
Response to Reply #30
38. He's the Human Highlight Reel...
...of bad appellate jurisprudence, either way.

Dude got game.
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StarburstClock Donating Member (583 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:19 PM
Response to Original message
2. Who need "records" and "evidence" in a criminal country?
Those kinds of things are for the little people like you and me, not supreme court justices.
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midnight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:20 PM
Response to Original message
3. The system is purchased by those who make mistakes, and will never be held accountable....
Speaking of J.C Thomas... is he being held accountable for his numerous tax mistakes?


How about that Supreme Court decision.... 1963, in Brady v. Maryland, the Supreme Court held that prosecutors must turn over to the defense any evidence that would tend to prove a defendant's innocence. Failure to do so is a violation of the defendant's constitutional rights. Is this applicable for just criminal or is it applicable for civil too?
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Botany Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:20 PM
Response to Original message
4. And this why we have re elect Barack Obama.
He will get anywhere from 1 to 4 more picks for the supreme court.
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kag Donating Member (548 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:29 PM
Response to Reply #4
7. Yup.
No matter how much one has come to feel betrayed by the man, we CANNOT let some right winger appoint anymore scalia's or thomas-es. That would be disastrous.
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Botany Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #7
12. bingo
Reason ..... The U.S. Supreme Court and all the Judges on the Federal Bench.
Scalia is 74, Thomas is 63, Kennedy is 74, and Roberts has some kind of neurological problem ....
Gingsburg will not be on the court much longer too.

Citizens United, bush v Gore, and so on have had huge negative effects on America
and the world.

No bush v Gore = no 9/11, no war in Afghanistan, no war in Iraq, no money taken from the fund to
build up the dikes around New Orleans, no failed response to Katrina, no spying, no torture, no Ohio
2004, no BP Gulf of Mexico accident because Cheney's group would not have pulled the automatic
cut off switch for deep water rigs, no driving the economy into the ditch, work on green energy &
global warming, no having a drunken ass unelected shit head show up @ the Olympics* ......


*

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kag Donating Member (548 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #12
18. I had never seen that photo before...
Edited on Mon Apr-04-11 03:55 PM by kag
...but what a perfect depiction of the stupid slob we had in the white house for eight years.

And I agree completely with your list of shit that wouldn't have happened if he hadn't stolen TWO elections. I blame Rove mostly, but there's plenty of blame to go around.

On edit: eight years, not four. Wishful thinking!
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Botany Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 04:04 PM
Response to Reply #18
20. Hell I once asked DU to help me put together pix of W ....
... drunk.



Hello Slovenia ..... the one of him getting off air force one in Slovenia is a classic.



here he is drinking a pisco sour

Liberal media my ass.
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pacalo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #18
28. You may not have seen these, either...


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kag Donating Member (548 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 09:02 PM
Response to Reply #28
39. They look like they're frisking him!
And Laura looks like she'd rather be on another planet! I sure would!
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 04:09 PM
Response to Reply #12
22. That is still one of the best pictures of the blivet
It shows his essential monkey-assness in its full "glory."

And if he is not skunk drunk in that photo, I am Julius Caesar.
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Botany Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 04:15 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. One his way to his seat before that picture was taken


and he sure had lots of bruises to his face



And the media never touched the story. I met somebody on line from Poland or Germany
and W's drinking was well known in Europe.
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hifiguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 04:27 PM
Response to Reply #24
27. That is the Olympics photo I was
thinking of. The Chimpleton was drunker than a boiled owl.
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leveymg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #24
31. The wound on his cheek was from removal of a pre-cancerous lesion. That went unreported in the
MSM in the crazy "protect fearless leader" era after 9/11. Not to say that the man doesn't drink or fall down a lot, of course!
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SheilaT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #24
36. I thought this was the photo after he
fell off his couch while watching football.
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xxqqqzme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Apr-06-11 02:23 AM
Response to Reply #36
44. That was from his crash when
Edited on Wed Apr-06-11 02:23 AM by xxqqqzme
he was on his bicycle.

Look at those broken capillaries on his face.
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undeterred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 04:13 PM
Response to Reply #12
23. Photo taken at the Olympic games while he was still President.
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KamaAina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #12
32. Roberts has epilepsy
no shortened life expectancy. You seriously think the repukes would have put him on the greasy skid if therwe were?
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StarburstClock Donating Member (583 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:39 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. So would another democratic prez, who might fight for universal health care as well
Not to mention getting criminal banks out of the White House, closing torture camps, taxing the super elite, holding war criminals accountable: you know, all those things Obama said he'd do but didn't.
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Botany Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:42 PM
Response to Reply #11
16. and I wanted a pony that farts glitter too
Got to look at the big picture ..... Hell I live in Ohio and I still don't know why
those assholes aren't in jail for the crap they pulled.
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The Backlash Cometh Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:20 PM
Response to Original message
5. The Borgia Justices of the 21st Century.
I remember reading about this sicko kind of shit in history books.
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FSogol Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:26 PM
Original message
Why is that tax cheat still on the bench?
:shrug:
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Cal33 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 06:07 PM
Response to Original message
37. Possibly for the same reason why all the corporate tax-dodgers got away from paying their taxes.
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xxqqqzme Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:26 PM
Response to Original message
6. Thomas writes legal opinion?
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unblock Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. scalia probably writes them and puts thomas' name on them....
just to keep up pretenses.
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thereismore Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:43 PM
Response to Reply #6
17. +1
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Fire1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:34 PM
Response to Original message
8. I'm surprised he hasn't tried to bleach his skin. n/t
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madrchsod Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:40 PM
Response to Reply #8
14. he reminds me how black men used to get good jobs in my town.
don`t rock the boat and join the republican party and this did`t stop until the early 60`s. no i don`t live in the south ,i live in the hometown of ronald reagan.
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tanyev Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:35 PM
Response to Original message
9. If you can't think of a reason to vote for Obama, think about Huckabee making SC appointments.
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dmr Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:36 PM
Response to Original message
10. This right here should be why prosecutors should be held liable:
Edited on Mon Apr-04-11 03:38 PM by dmr
the jury had "considerable evidence that both Connick and prosecutors in his office were ignorant of the constitutional rules regarding disclosure of exculpatory evidence; they were ignorant of the rules regarding disclosure of scientific evidence; there was no training, or continuing education, and no procedures to monitor compliance with evidentiary requirements; prosecutors did not review police files; and shockingly, Connick himself had been indicted by federal prosecutors for suppressing a lab report of the kind hidden from Thompson."


Back in the early 90s, in my profession, two employees, two immediate supervisors & the director lost their jobs when a horrific 'mishap' occurred. Why? Because each supervisor & the director were responsible for everything each of their employees were doing, how they were doing their job, & assure they had the proper training, continuing ed, time & 'tools' in which to do their job safely.

This kind of ruling hurts all of us, because it could be us, or someone we love falsely accused of a wrong-doing.

The prosecutors broke the law. They are not above the law. They should be held accountable.

Edit: spelling
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Johonny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #10
25. +1
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butterfly77 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:42 PM
Response to Original message
15. ...
:grr:
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Citizen Worker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 03:55 PM
Response to Original message
19. This decision carries serious ramifications, not only for the wrongfully incarcerated but for the
legal premise of managerial accountability in the "duty to know." From the first line supervisor all the way to the top it has long been established that "management either knew or should have known." This is terrible, just terrible.
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Coyote_Bandit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 04:23 PM
Response to Reply #19
26. Exactly nt
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spanone Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 04:07 PM
Response to Original message
21. scalia & thomas are an embarrassment to humanity
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pacalo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 05:16 PM
Response to Original message
29. Connick had a special relationship with the PTB when he defeated Jim Garrison for DA
in 1974. Garrison's investigation of the JFK assassination & subsequent trial of N.O. "businessman" Clay Shaw led to a nationwide character assassination of Garrison's reputation. For more information, google "Jim Garrison + Harry Connick".

The PTB are protecting Connick with this SCOTUS decision.
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Dj13Francis Donating Member (343 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 05:56 PM
Response to Original message
33. Fuck him
Fuck him and fuck all these fucks.

I'm so sick of these fuckin' ass clowns. Fuck them! FUCK!

I can't even be in a room with these types anymore without bursting into screaming fits of profanity.

Cuz fuck them.

They fuckin' suck ass and need to fuckin' kill themselves.

davidjamesfrancis.com
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quinnox Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 05:57 PM
Response to Original message
34. This supreme court is an embarrassment to America
Scalia and Thomas lead the conservative court jesters, what a laughingstock of a court.
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Danger Mouse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 06:00 PM
Response to Original message
35. Clarence Thomas is an embarassment to the institution of the supreme court.
A horse's ass could do as much.
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jaysunb Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 09:35 PM
Response to Original message
40. Elections matter. n/t
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Hugabear Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 09:43 PM
Response to Original message
41. Clarence Thomas = lump of human shit dressed in a judge's robe
Really, there's nothing redeeming to say about this man whatsoever.
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WillyT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 10:48 PM
Response to Original message
42. K & R !!!
:kick:
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Apr-04-11 10:52 PM
Response to Original message
43. Scalia and Thomas should both be thrown from the bench.
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