There’s been round-the-blawgosphere turmoil about Lee v. Lampert, in which the 9th Circuit basically said that the AEDPA‘s time limits for filing a habeas petition still apply even though pretty much everyone agrees that the defendant is actually innocent. That is, Lee is innocent, but he just didn’t submit the paperwork on time. There’s plenty of coverage by Gideon, C&F, Gamso, and Greenfield.
I think that unless the U.S. Supreme court overturns this ruling or the Governor steps in and moots the case with a pardon, this case is probably headed for some crazy legal shenanigans, as the defense tries to find a judge who will go along with some sort of pretextual constitutional issue that will allow the facts to be reconsidered so that justice can be done.
This tends to support my observation that the machinery of justice is missing an important part:
This is an ridiculous situation. Our court system apparently has no simple, honest method of dealing with the possibility that a criminal court followed all the correct procedures and — perhaps due to facts unavailable at the time — still reached an erroneous conclusion.
The closest we come to such a method is probably a habeas petition, which is going to be a problem…