For many inmates in American prisons, the U.S. Supreme Court is their favorite pen pal. Prisoners have been known to write weekly (or daily) letters begging the justices to intercede in their cases. These direct pleas (writs of habeas corpus in legalese) have been consistently ignored by the U.S. Supreme Court for fifty years. Yesterday, however, the court surprised many legal observers by breaking its long habit and intervening in the case of death row inmate Troy Davis. He has been on death row in Georgia since being convicted of the 1988 murder of an off-duty police officer. Adam Liptak, Supreme Court correspondent for our partner The New York Times, joins us with more of the story.
For more, read With 2 Hours to Spare, Justices Stay Execution, in the New York Times.