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Noah Feldman

This Is What 'Travesty of Justice' Looks Like

Prisoners are losing the chance to reduce their sentences as an appeals court fumbles a recent Supreme Court ruling.
Losing their second chance.

Losing their second chance.

Photographer: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Call it Scalia’s revenge. In one of the last cases that he authored before he died in February, Justice Antonin Scalia convinced his colleagues to strike down a key clause of the Armed Career Criminal Act because it was unconstitutionally vague. As a result, thousands of convicted felons are now asking courts to have their sentences reduced. 

The legal rules for considering such post-conviction requests are tricky and technical. But in most of the country, prisoners are getting another day in court to have their ACCA convictions reviewed in the light of the new legal principle.