Access to Justice

RELEASE: A Win for Rodney Reed, for Justice, and for Fidelity to the Original Meaning of Section 1983

WASHINGTON, DC – Following the Supreme Court’s announcement of its decision in Reed v. Goertz,  Constitutional Accountability Center Appellate Counsel Miriam Becker-Cohen issued the following reaction:

This opinion may be short, but it is powerful in its effect: paving the way for Rodney Reed, a death-row defendant who has consistently maintained his innocence for over twenty years, to seek DNA testing of crime-scene evidence, and settling that, consistent with Section 1983’s history and original meaning, the accrual of a claim brought pursuant to that statute must be tailored to the nature of the constitutional right asserted. Agreeing with the arguments in the brief CAC filed in support of Reed, the Court today held that Reed’s procedural due process claim did not accrue until “the state litigation ended and deprived Reed of his asserted liberty interest in DNA testing—when the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied Reed’s motion for rehearing.” And echoing our brief, the Court explained that the “soundness of that straightforward conclusion” is reinforced by “core principles of federalism, comity, consistency, and judicial economy.” We are pleased that the Court reached this conclusion, recognizing that the text and history of Section 1983 indicate that it is a vehicle fundamentally designed to remedy state and local violations of federal law.

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Resources:

Case page in Reed v. Goertz: https://www.theusconstitution.org/litigation/reed-v-goertz/ 

Supreme Court Can Improve Access to Courts Next Term in Reed v. Goertz: https://www.theusconstitution.org/blog/supreme-court-can-improve-access-to-courts-next-term-in-reed-v-goertz/

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Constitutional Accountability Center is a nonpartisan think tank and public interest law firm dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text, history, and values. Visit CAC’s website at www.theusconstitution.org.

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