Moody v. Tatum: On Second Thought….

We don’t like this as a “vehicle” for presenting the issue.  We mean, the issue is of supreme importance, maybe the most significant due process issue in the last 50 years.

Maybe the most significant due process issue ever.

And so we shouldn’t have squishy facts.  But that’s what the (government) Petitioner wants:

There is nothing in the record to indicate either Pulido or Moody were aware of these informal discovery requests but deliberately withheld the information…

If it isn’t conceded by the state that the police or prosecutors deliberately concealed evidence then the case presents the issue only if those facts are found even though they are not conceded.

Notice that the government brief doesn’t concede, but doesn’t dispute either.  And this is the government’s approach in case after case where this issue – that is, the government deliberately concealing exculpatory evidence or deliberately fabricating evidence – crops up:  they are coy about it.

Coy, by the way, can be fine in romantic contexts.  But where life and liberty are at stake it is a disgraceful pose for the government to strike.  Government proclaims itself to be the protector of life, liberty and property.  If it’s flippant enough to be coy about its basic responsibilities that is already a serious problem.

One reason that coyness in this situation is highly objectionable is that, like other cases, the evidence in Moody shows unequivocally that the conduct by the officers in suppressing the exculpatory evidence was indeed deliberate, but it takes some explanation to understand how and why, and people lose patience with details and facts.  Especially the SCOTUS, where everyone believes that such trifles should be attended to by lesser minds further down the pecking order in the trial courts.

Petitioners assert, without record support, that they did not believe that there was a connection between the robberies with which they charged Walker and those for which Smith was convicted.
… The courts below and the jury rejected this assertion: “It defies common sense to believe that more than one demand – note robber of retail stores was operating in Southwest Division in the summer of 2005, both matching the same general description, and both misspelling the word ‘start’ on their demand notes.”

That’s taken from the Respondent’s brief in opposition.  If you read quite a bit more you’ll see that what is stated there is unarguably correct, but….you have to read quite a bit more, and maybe even think a little.

In any case, what the Petitioners are trying to do is fudge the facts in order to give the “conservative” justices the idea that the cops here got screwed because there was no deliberate wrongdoing. Or at least leave room for the justices to have that idea because they like that idea more than the alternative.

So the likelihood is that for that reason, among others, the SCOTUS taking up this case has a good chance of confusing things more, not clarifying them.

And on this issue, things desperately need to be clarified.  It’s been screwed up for decades, and that’s long enough.


1 Comment

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One response to “Moody v. Tatum: On Second Thought….

  1. ideas4change

    Shouldn’t there be a way to judicially notice the mens rea as paramount?

    Are courts so obtuse to the concept of justice, for bias sake?


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