The Burden of Proving Innocence

July 16, 2010

The Wall Street Journal Law Blog has noted an interesting case pending in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Georgia.

Troy Anthony Davis was convicted of, and sentenced to death for, the 1989 murder of a police officer in Savannah, Georgia.  He filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus with the United States Supreme Court last year, claiming that new evidence would establish his innocence.  The Supreme Court, in an opinion available here on Westlaw, transferred the case to the Southern District of Georgia for a hearing to determine whether the new evidence “clearly establishes” Mr. Davis’s innocence.

An interesting question arose during the District Court proceedings: what exactly is the burden that Mr. Davis must meet in “clearly establishing” his innocence?  The District Judge requested briefing on that question and four others, and the parties filed their briefs on July 7.  To view those briefs, access the docket for the case on Westlaw (try a search for PTN(TROY /2 DAVIS) & FLD(2009) in the DOCK-GA-SDCT database), and click the appropriate PDF links for the briefs.

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