LatinaLista — The Supreme Court has been very busy these last few weeks. Try as they might to avoid passing any controversial cases — such as today’s vote on keeping Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act and last week’s refusal to hear a case that challenged the federal government’s assertion that it could supersede state and local laws to build the fence between Mexico and the U.S — the justices couldn’t avoid controversy entirely this session.
In a decision that many have expressed as “disturbing,” the Supreme Court justices voted to not force states to let prisoners get access to genetic evidence that might prove their innocence.
In other words, for prisoners in Alaska, Oklahoma and Massachusetts — the only states that don’t give convicts access to genetic evidence — these prisoners will be forever doomed to sit in jail because the Supreme Court justices ruled that:
New technology that was not available at trial should not throw fairly won convictions into doubt.
That’s not just disturbing, it’s inhumane and arrogant on a scale beyond reason.
The Supreme Court decision to not let genetic testing prove someone’s innocence just because it wasn’t around at the time of the original court hearing is unbelievably asinine and lowers the phrase “the rule of law” to an all-time low.
According to the Innocence Project, thanks to those states that do allow for convicts to have access to genetic evidence, 240 convicts have been exonerated. If it had not been for access to the genetic evidence, these 240 individuals would have spent their lives begging someone to believe their innocence.
There probably cannot be anything more frightening than being locked up behind bars and repeating you’re innocence but no one believing you, and not being able to prove that innocence even with evidence that existed at the time of the crime.
Yet, that is what is happening and will continue to happen in these three states for which the Supreme Court ruled. By not requiring these states to give access to these prisoners, the national judicial system is complicit in those cases where people were convicted erroneously.
Does the fact that the vast majority of people who would benefit from the testing of genetic evidence are of color mean that their lives are more dispensable in order to making the judicial process seem infallible?
It would seem so. That the Supreme Court believes this reflects on how disconnected these justices are from humanity.
By virtue of Sotomayor’s nomination, the public is learning more about how the Supreme Court is supposed to arrive at their decisions. According to some, the Supreme Court interprets the law; it doesn’t make it.
Yet, this case clearly proves the opposite.
If there is a silver lining to this case, it’s that the number of people who will truly be affected will be very small but even one person deprived of proving their innocence is too many.
To say that judicial process supersedes the sanctity of life is repulsive and underscores just what happens when empathy is not included in the process.