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HUFFPOST SUPER USER
billw8017
History looks like this
03:48 AM on 06/10/2009
Scalia said it, innocense is not a defense. We don't have a Justice system, we have a Judicial systam inured to injustice. Judges have so much power. They should try a little harder to serve the best interests of their country. This is particularly true of a Justice of the Supreme Court. Other judges must fit the forms, but a Justice of the Supreme Court really should have not just empathy but understanding of the greater ideals of the law.

I am aware that Judges have abused their authority; as it is said, hard cases make bad law. Bad Judges can make it worse.
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billw8017
History looks like this
03:53 AM on 06/10/2009
It is wrong to totally blame the Judges. Congress sets rules, and there is a sense that injustice can give closure to the families and friends of victims. It is bad policy meant to give cover to bad police work and posturing prosecutors.
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mitsie
05:48 AM on 06/10/2009
We have alot better Justice system then many other countries, in fact I would go so far as to say we have the best. There are some Judges who are corrupt but it's not fair to judge them all by a few bad apples.
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06:48 AM on 06/10/2009
A lot = two words.
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05:08 PM on 06/10/2009
Very true, many countries model their justice system after our. And Sotomayor is not corrupt as the poster above tried to insuinuate...it was a simple matter of procedure, the guys attorney did not follow proper procedure so the appeal was declined, it may not be right and it sucks, but our judicial system is simply too large to make exceptions when proper procedure is not followed.
02:49 AM on 06/10/2009
I am a lawyer and one thing you learn early is that there are certain deadlines you cannot ignore, no matter how much merit your case may have. Deadlines like the one in this case are a good example. So is the deadline for filing an appeal. Miss the deadline, lose the right to appeal. It is very straightforward and not based on the merits of the case. Missing the statute of limitations on an action is also a common error that cannot be corrected.

I blame the lawyer. He should have known better. That's part of the job, knowing when to file things. It isn't rocket science. Waiting until the last day to file something is asking for trouble and I've seen it happen.

Yes, this was a terrible miscarriage of justice, but to hold Judge Sotomayor responsible for it, is simply not justified. She didn't do anything that any other judge in her position would not have done-she followed the law, which was her obligation as a judge. Deadlines are not open to interpretation; they are very straightforward. Her decision on this procedural matter has nothing to do with how she might rule on a constitutional issue and anyone who reads anything into it doesn't know what they are talking about.
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03:02 AM on 06/10/2009
I once worked for a guy who depended solely on the "help" to make sure the SOL was met, but he missed one even when it was put IN HIS FACE. He routinely ignored his own responsibilities and decisions we, as non-lawyers, could not make. The Bar protects its own far too often for these little "mishaps" and blame the help for the errors of lawyers when it is not the help's decision to make. After all, the "help" are not officers of the court, he or she is. The help should never have to act as babysitters for incompetents.
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03:49 AM on 06/10/2009
um...the Bar can't protect their own from a malpractice lawsuit...

Who is blaming the 'help' besides the lawyer who F'd up?

Obviously, Judge Sotomayor and the rest of the court didn't blame the help, because if she did, they would have heard the case.
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03:45 AM on 06/10/2009
great comment, agree 100%
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02:40 AM on 06/10/2009
This guy was 16-16!-when a confession was coerced out of him (he had been promised he could go home if he did). What the hell did that 16 yr old know about procedure then? The guy spent half his life in jail and obviously was railroaded so the cops and prosecutor could get a conviction. Does anyone realize how difficult it is to get an appeals lawyer from jail? If there's no money, you have to rely on a "pro bono" lawyer which sometimes is a lawyer doing his or her "good works" time for a firm's PR and has no experience in criminal law or as a trial lawyer. So, this kid rotted in jail with an attorney who relied on a clerk to give him the correct date. Was it the defendant's fault that everyone failed at their job?

No, it was "American Justice" at its worst. Half his life spent in jail for INJUSTICE. There's blame all over the place on this one, from the time he was arrested until the time he was finally released. It says something about his character that he survived and has chosen Criminal Justice for a post-prison career. Good for him, and a pox on ALL of those actors who took so many years out of an innocent man's life.
03:06 AM on 06/10/2009
Excellent, excellent post! You're right, this is injustice at its worst, and should give anyone pause when reciting the "pledge". Justice for whom, exactly?

At least he wasn't tried as an adult, sentenced to death, and executed, as I'm sure many innocent victims of this decrepit system are...
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MsLiz
burned out attorney, flaming liberal
03:07 AM on 06/10/2009
I am glad you commented on how many bear fault in this case. The cops for getting a false confession, the prosecution for offering it, the judge for allowing it, the jurors for believing it when the evidence showed another man's semen in the victim, and the appellate lawyer for not filing the petition ahead of the deadline. The defendant gets a little blame for not asking for an attorney, but then many sixteen year olds are good kids and are that naive.

I told my kids never talk to the police other than name, address and phone number without asking for a parent (a juvenile's right) and a lawyer. Tell yours the same, everyone, so they don't end up like this poor man.
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Donns
08:17 AM on 06/10/2009
Truth, Justice and the American way. Superman said that; and he lied.
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Z-Liberator
Republicans are scared men of narrow vision,
02:38 AM on 06/10/2009
I am disturbed by this!
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03:39 AM on 06/10/2009
Yes its horrible, but it is what it is...The appeal had to be in on a certain date and it wasn't. The guy should be mad at his incompetent attorney. Just try to imagine how many case a federal appeals court recieves in a year...1,000's and they have to determine which cases deserve to be heard. So those cases that don't follow procedure are usually automatically declined...Its not fair but for better or worse that is the legal system.
02:37 AM on 06/10/2009
Innocent man spending years in jail?
Republicans should be fundraising to make sure she gets on the court.
02:08 AM on 06/10/2009
Blame Congress and Bush:

"Under the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996,petitions must be submitted no more than a year after a conviction becomes final or, as the courts later determined, no more than a year from the act’s implementation if the conviction became final before that. Mr. Deskovic was convicted in 1990. He had until April 24, 1997, to turn in his request. It arrived four days after that."

This should be ruled an unconstitutional infringement on habeas corpus.
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02:48 AM on 06/10/2009
One of the factors about Sotomayor that disturbs me is that she has never ruled on a case that set precedent. The opposition knows this. Every one of their major criticisms of her is sexist or racist. If she had made any waves on the Appeals bench, wouldn't most people who pay attention to the courts have heard her name at least once? Since the nomination first came out, I've seen her not as an "activist judge" or "shining star" of any sort, but as rather pedestrian.
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MsLiz
burned out attorney, flaming liberal
03:08 AM on 06/10/2009
Good points. An appellate judge should be "rather pedestrian" in that their duty is to apply the law, not set precedents. Sometimes they have to set precedents but the opportunities are few.
02:03 AM on 06/10/2009
She denied a routine appeal on procedural grounds. Happens every day in every court in America.

Any judges record will be filled with this sort of detail. It says nothing about her legal decisions or her legal mind.

The man certainly has cause to be upset.

But every person in jail today, rightfully committed, has similar grievances.

We need to look at the whole of her record, not the minutia

Ask for her explanation in the hearings. But don't condemn the woman for one procedural decision. That is just plain silly.

She has a record of decisions going back for years. it is an open book. Judge her on the whole of her record.

And: as my wife has repeatedly told me. nearly every plaintiff in every case who loses is convinced the judge was out to get them. And has been prejudiced against them.

But that is very seldom the case.
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Jtt
-adults don't wear party hats
02:08 AM on 06/10/2009
Most Guantanamo bay prisoners have served less than his "mistake" was for.

His "confession" was coersed too.

So Guantanamo is just a natural extension of our legal system that most democrats seem to agree with. Abuse is acceptable and no one is punished for injustice if they are on the governments side.

Im jumping off the bus. No more sympathy in these horrific decisions form me.

You guys are not liberals.
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Jtt
-adults don't wear party hats
02:12 AM on 06/10/2009
One last thing, did she apologize to this guy? Did anyone?
02:19 AM on 06/10/2009
Did you even read my post?

Because if you did, you need to work on you reading comprehensions skills.

If you want to jump off the bus, more power to you.

I am sure you will not be missed.
02:03 AM on 06/10/2009
There's the "Rule of law" and then there is "Justice". One with out the other is as bad as nothing at all. Looks like we have a "go along to get along" here.
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kassandrasduplex
01:47 AM on 06/10/2009
Maybe Sotomayor isn't such a great choice after all. Six more years in prison and then PROVEN innocent. Better ten guilty go free than one innocent be imprisoned.
01:21 AM on 06/10/2009
Well, there goes the argument of the right who were concerned about her making judicial opinions using too much empathy. Apparently she is very much like most of those appellate judges appointee by Republican presidents.
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Jtt
-adults don't wear party hats
01:24 AM on 06/10/2009
"I will seek someone who understands that justice isn't about some abstract legal theory or footnote in a casebook; it is also about how our laws affect the daily realities of people's lives, whether they can make a living and care for their families, whether they feel safe in their homes and welcome in their own nation," Obama said. "I view that quality of empathy, of understanding and identifying with people's hopes and struggles, as an essential ingredient for arriving at just decisions and outcomes."

- B. Obama
01:26 AM on 06/10/2009
Thank you, Jtt.
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J-Rome
Forward & Beyond!
01:42 AM on 06/10/2009
Bonilla v. Hurley, 370 F3rd 494 (2004):

"A petitioner procedurally defaults claims for habeas relief if the petitioner has not presented those claims to the state courts in accordance with the state's procedural rules." Jones, 238 F.3d at 406. When a "state prisoner has defaulted his federal claims in state court pursuant to an independent and adequate state procedural rule, federal habeas review of the claims is barred unless the prisoner can demonstrate cause for the default and actual prejudice ... or demonstrate that failure to consider the claims will result in a fundamental miscarriage of justice." Coleman v. Thompson, 501 U.S. 722, 750, 111 S.Ct. 2546, 115 L.Ed.2d 640 (1991). Since both cause and prejudice must be shown to excuse a procedural default, the failure to establish cause eliminates the need to consider prejudice. Murray v. Carrier, 477 U.S. 478, 494-95, 106 S.Ct. 2639, 91 L.Ed.2d 397 (1986).

In order to establish cause, a habeas corpus petitioner must show that "some objective factor external to the defense" prevented the petitioner's compliance with a state procedural rule. Id. at 488, 106 S.Ct. 2639.
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Jtt
-adults don't wear party hats
01:50 AM on 06/10/2009
Habeas corpus petitions are rarely granted, and Mr. Deskovic knew that all along. Federal judges routinely deny them, including for purely procedural reasons. But he listened as President Obama, in seeking a new Supreme Court justice, talked about how he wanted a judge with not only great intellect, but also great empathy, a judge who knew how the real world worked and who could apply some common sense.

In his petition, Mr. Deskovic
*** contested the constitutionality of his conviction, saying it resulted from a coerced confession ****
, and that the DNA offered proof of his innocence.

Mr. Deskovic spent
*** six more years behind bars, ***
until DNA found in the victim not only cleared him, but connected another man to the crime.

And here we are again.

A coerced confession and a procedural glitch.

NO more of this garbage. This is unconscionable.

How on earth anyone can justify that ruling is beyond me. She is NOT a "Wise Latina"
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J-Rome
Forward & Beyond!
01:52 AM on 06/10/2009
Its extremely unfortunate that Deskovic had to spend anytime in prison, and I hope he hired some competent attorneys to secure a nice payout from Westchester County. However, his criminal attorneys had 7 years to file his habeas corpus petition, and they filed it 4 days late. Inexcusable!!!
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01:17 AM on 06/10/2009
Ok so let me see if I get this...The man's attorneys filed his appeal too late and he is mad that the Judges did not overturn his conviction...sounds like someone needs to being suing for malpractice rather than being mad at a Judge doing her job. Wierdly this backs up her claim of following the rule of law.
01:15 AM on 06/10/2009
shes getting on the SC because 1) she is female 2) is hispanic 3) gop dare not oppose her because of 2)
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Jtt
-adults don't wear party hats
01:17 AM on 06/10/2009
If a GOP er did this we would rightfully eat them alive.

This is terrible - unconscionable for democrats.

Our party is being slowly destroyed to accommodate ONE politician.
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RachelMc
01:41 AM on 06/10/2009
y? because she did what any other judge would do.
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Jtt
-adults don't wear party hats
01:37 AM on 06/10/2009
You shouldn't make bad arguments when a good one is within grasp.

She is more than qualified.

I question her ability to make the BEST decision. As everyone here should at least be calling for a closer look.
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themodernleader
01:09 AM on 06/10/2009
In my years of looking at candidates who's name to fame is school achievement awards and degrees from declining institutions of higher education, I have become circumspect of their qualifications to lead. Candidates who have never worked at labor intensive jobs, who have never worked on a farm or repaired a road, or worked as a laborer in a steel mill or glass works, such people don't have a clue about practice. Theory without application in practice is most often stillborn theory. Leaders who have not been tested by theory and practice are leaders that think they know what they don't know. Such leaders can take an organization down before the membership can do anything to slow or stop the decline.
01:23 AM on 06/10/2009
A little off topic, but a great post.

In the workplace we have all come across those middle or executive managers who are brilliant, went to the best schools, have lines of designations after their names and have years of experience, yet they leave nothing but chaos, havoc and damage around them. Why? Because they were promoted to their positions on the basis of their background and experience, not their strengths and leadership skills.

During the campaign Clinton fans and McCain hangers-on would go on and on about the two of them being the best candidates because of their experience, but it was Obama who had the leadership skills -- that is what will get him through two terms, not his individual decisions.
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03:02 AM on 06/10/2009
How is this a great post? It's off topic and has nothing to do with Sotomayor or her background. And if the poster is talking about Obama he is way off base. This post actually sounds like the poster is salty he/she did not go to college (or get into the type of school he/she thought they deserved).


"Candidates who have never worked at labor intensive jobs, who have never worked on a farm or repaired a road, or worked as a laborer in a steel mill or glass works, such people don't have a clue about practice. Theory without application in practice is most often stillborn theory."

I've worked in a warehouse does that make me qualified to be the COO of a fortune 500 company, or maybe I can be a presidential candidate like Palin...

Actually, the problem with this rationale is that the theory and practice the poster speaks of are completely different and don't correlate. Yes if I am theorizing about the complexities of growing corn for ethanol , then having had experience as a farmer would be great to have, but to sit here and say that someone who hasn't performed manual labor doesn't have the capacity to lead is ludicrous and shouldn't be encouraged.
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Jezreel
Think. Act. Live wisely.
01:24 AM on 06/10/2009
Great comment; themodernleader and one with which I totally agree. It is an open secret that academicians and theorists choose teaching because they would utterly fail in the real world - which requires practical application and common sense.
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nana4g
01:06 AM on 06/10/2009
Maybe his anger should be directed at his attorneys.
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FearlessFreep
A radical leftist with a JS Woodsworth avatar.
01:15 AM on 06/10/2009
Maybe you shouldn't blame the victims.
01:24 AM on 06/10/2009
Hi FearlessFreep.

Let's leave the "maybe" out of your comment.
02:23 AM on 06/10/2009
He was a victim of his incompetent lawyer.
01:36 AM on 06/10/2009
I'm thinking his anger should be mostly directed at the police and prosecutor's office in Peekskill.
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TeeLolly
12:54 AM on 06/10/2009
and the square wheels of injustice just keep grinding along ...
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Beowoof
Every lemming deserves a second chance
01:04 AM on 06/10/2009
Another arguement against water-boarding. Imagine----a coerced confession.
03:35 AM on 06/10/2009
Yep.

Folks, again: we've got some major, serious, institutionalized problems in this Nation of ours, problems that a few 'democratic' elections are not going to solve. The square wheels of capitalism go grinding our World away...

Please read this... it's the best expose of money-as-we-know-it I've ever seen:

www.financialsense.com/fsu/editorials/martenson/2007/0108.html