Monday, January 12, 2009

Clemency in the Court

Adam Liptak of the New York Times has written an interesting piece regarding the case of Edward J. Harbison which was featured an "unusually testy" oral argument before the Supreme Court on Monday. As Liptak explains, federal law "provides lawyers to poor inmates on state death rows when their cases move to federal court." But Harbison's case raises the question of whether "the law also requires the federal government to pay those lawyers to present clemency petitions to governors and other state officials." Liptak reports Justices Scalia and Breyer, in particular, directed questions toward each other on the bench while Harbison’s lawyers argued "the preparation of a comprehensive and persuasive clemency petition was 'daunting work' that required the attention of sophisticated and well-informed lawyers." See Liptak's full article here.

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