Finality of verdict v. actual innocence

One more good reason to filibuster Alito.

Paul G. House was accused of murdering his next-door neighbor in 1986. The prosecution claimed that he had murdered her in the course of raping her, and introduced chemical evidence that his semen was found on her clothing. He was convicted and sentenced to death.

Now it turns out that DNA analysis shows that the semen was in fact that of the victim’s husband.

Paul House is still on death row.

All eight Republican-appointed judges from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals who sat on the en banc hearing on House’s habeas corpus petition voted to deny it; all seven Democratic-appointed judges voted to grant it, with six of them agreeing that he had in fact proven his innocence.

If Justice Scalia’s view prevails, Paul House will be executed.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: