Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Cool opening. In McKithen v. Brown, Judge Calabresi opens his decision as follows:

"Eighty-four years ago, Judge Learned Hand observed that '[o]ur procedure has been always haunted by the ghost of the innocent man convicted,' but posited, optimistically, that '[i]t is an unreal dream.' United States v. Garrison, 291 F. 646, 649 (S.D.N.Y. 1923). Today, with the advance of forensic DNA technology, our desire to join Learned Hand's optimism has given way to the reality of wrongful convictions -- a reality which challenges us to reaffirm our commitment to the principle that the innocent should be freed."

The case involves an attempt by a prisoner to a post-conviction constitutional right to access to DNA testing, which, he asserts, might exonerate him. The District Court dismissed the action, citing the Rooker-Feldman doctrine, but the Second Circuit reversed.

The decision can be found here.

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