Where Scalia and Thomas are plainly moral monsters

The Supreme Court recently made a 7-2 ruling which favored convicted murderer Cory Maples. Here are the basics. Maples was represented by a prominent firm, Sullivan and Cromwell, following his murder conviction. He and his current lawyers contend that the lawyers who represented him during his trial were incompetent (and underpaid) and as such he should be able to appeal his sentence of death. (He is not contesting his guilt.) Unfortunately, a series of terrible events made him miss a filing deadline. His first pro bono lawyers left Sullivan and Cromwell without informing their client. Then crucial letters he had sent off were marked returned to sender instead of being passed on to other lawyers. His local counsel, needed for formality reasons, took no action because the other lawyers were suppose to take the lead. A clerk also did nothing. Maples found out about everything about a month after the deadline. State and federal courts then said they could not waive the deadlines, largely because the actions of one’s lawyers is seen to also be the actions of the client.

Clearly we have a whole bunch of horseshit going on here. Maples is the victim of circumstances beyond his control from his prison cell. He did everything within his own power to meet the deadline for appealing. Justice Ginsburg, noting that deadlines usually are not touched by the courts, said this situation was unique because Maples “lacked any clue that he had better fend for himself.” It’s obvious that Maples deserves better than this, regardless of his crime.

What makes this all especially egregious is that Maples has a pretty good claim that had he been adequately represented he probably would have avoided the death penalty. The jury vote for murder-by-committee was 10-2, the minimum required under Alabama law. Had his trial lawyers not “appear to be stumbling around in the dark”, as one of them actually said in court, then it seems perfectly plausible that the man could have convinced at least one more person that he doesn’t deserve to be murdered.

Political figure Antonin Scalia and Chester the Terrier avatar Clarence Thomas saw things differently. They believed Maples was represented just fine through the whole process. After all, Scalia notes, once Sullivan and Cromwell were informed of the error their former employees made, they took action. This makes sense. I mean, who wouldn’t want a system where post hoc representation is the norm? “Sure, your lawyer was snorting blow and banging hookers while paying alley bums to get into fist fights, but his firm took action and fired him 8 years after your conviction. I don’t see what you’re whining about, pussy.”

Scalia then takes things one stupid step further and makes this terrible argument:

“The trick will be to allege,” Justice Scalia wrote, “not that counsel was ineffective, but rather that the counsel’s ineffectiveness demonstrates that he was not a genuinely representative agent.”

In other words, this decision may open up better legal avenues for defendants, thus we shouldn’t allow it. This is why I hate this purely political piece of shit. He is more concerned with closing off doors to fair trials than making the right decision. Justice Ginsburg notes that this situation is quite specific and unique, so Scalia’s argument is moot, but I don’t see what it matters even if he is right. So what if clients can argue that they never had genuine representation? Let the courts decide if that’s the case or not – just as they did here.

This is the M.O. for Scalia. He looks down the road at results he would personally dislike and sacrifices doing what is legally right as a result. Take Lawrence v Texas. He was perfectly happy to allow anti-sodomy laws because he feared the decision would open the road to gay marriage. It wasn’t that he thought there was any real legitimacy to the government criminalizing private acts of sex. Nope, he just doesn’t want them there gays to be gettin’ married. Just the same, he doesn’t want to see Maples get a fair shake at the system if it means a lot of other people will have more options; the man wants to keep doors closed. It’s such insane logic that I can’t help but condemn this shitbag for being a moral monster. He forsakes the law and tries to bring harm to people on illegitimate grounds. I really won’t be in the least bit upset when he dies. (The same goes for the pube guy.) I just hope it happens while we have a Democrat in office.

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