Nov. 2 Update:The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected an appeal from James Dailey, a death row inmate who argues that he was convicted on the faulty testimony of a jailhouse informant. The court declined to hear an appeal from an 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in February that ruled against Dailey.
According to Bloomberg Law, “Dailey’s appeal was supported by Catholic Bishops, former and current law enforcement officials, and a conservative anti-death penalty group. A 2019 ProPublica investigation looked at the informant whose testimony led to Dailey’s conviction and death sentence. Opposing high court review, Florida officials said the co-defendant went back on the confession and that Dailey’s newly discovered evidence claims don’t warrant consideration.”
The case is Dailey v. Florida, U.S., No. 19-1094. The previous story is below.
Federal Court Rejects Death Row’s James Dailey’s Appeal in Murder of 14-Year-Old Girl
February 2, 2020–In a case that has drawn national attention, a federal appeals court Thursday rejected arguments that a Death Row inmate should be given another chance to show he is innocent in the 1985 murder of a 14-year-old girl in Pinellas County.
A three-judge panel of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disputed inmate James Dailey’s contention that newly discovered evidence would clear him in the murder of Shelly Boggio, whose nude body was found with multiple stab wounds floating in water near Indian Rocks Beach.
Gov. Ron DeSantis in September signed a death warrant for Dailey, but a federal judge later issued a stay to give newly appointed attorneys more time to review and make filings in the case. The stay expired last month, though DeSantis has not rescheduled the execution.
The New York Times magazine in December ran a lengthy story delving into the case and the role of a jailhouse snitch, Paul Skalnik, in convicting Dailey, who contends another man, Jack Pearcy, was responsible for the murder.
But the federal appeals court said Dailey also argued in 2007 that he was entitled to a new trial because newly discovered evidence showed Pearcy had killed Boggio, a claim that was dismissed. The appeals court rejected Dailey’s arguments Thursday, in part, because it said he did not meet a requirement for making a new claim.
“At bottom, Dailey is asserting the same thing he asserted in 2007: that he is and always has been innocent of murdering Shelly Boggio, so the Constitution requires that the judgment against him be set aside,” said the 29-page ruling, written by Chief Judge Ed Carnes and joined by judges Charles Wilson and William Pryor.” Any new evidence he is submitting is merely supportive of that same claim; it is not the basis of a new one. As a result, Dailey has not made a prima facie showing that his claim survives (the legal) new claim requirement.”
The Atlanta-based court said Dailey also had not met a high standard of showing “actual innocence.”
“Dailey’s new evidence, at most, casts some degree of doubt on some of the testimony the state presented at trial. The credibility of one of the three jailhouse informants, Paul Skalnik, has been called into doubt. But we are not jurors deciding in the first instance whether the state has proved its case beyond a reasonable doubt. We are a court of appeals deciding more than 30 years after a murder whether the inmate who was convicted of it, and whose conviction has been upheld at every turn for three decades, has shown a reasonable likelihood of meeting the ‘extraordinarily high’ burden of making a ‘truly persuasive demonstration’ that he is actually innocent,” the ruling said, citing court precedents. “Dailey has not done that. He has not because even if we take Dailey’s new evidence into account, and even if we erase entirely Skalnik’s testimony, there remains substantial unrefuted evidence of Dailey’s guilt.”
Dailey, now 73, and Pearcy were convicted in the murder of Boggio, who had been hitchhiking before her death. Pearcy, now 64, was sentenced to life in prison, while Dailey was sentenced to death.
Dailey’s supporters, including attorneys with the Innocence Project of Florida, have argued that Pearcy has confessed to the murder and cleared Dailey. But the Florida Supreme Court in November also rejected an appeal by Dailey.
–Jim Saunders, News Service of Florida
35 years on death row ??? What the hell is wrong with the system? He should have been toasted 34 years ago.
who are you to judge this man?
jane doh says
he was judged already
Marie Tranchina Brood says
Jack Pearcy wrote a letter to Stacy Boggio stateing James killed Shelly and he wished he had stopped him.
No clemency – he infliced horrible pain and suffering on a 14 year old girl then stabbed her. He has worked the system in every way –
@attila – You are sooooo right! Toast him!!! Hang him! Castrate him! CHILD KILLER!! I am beginning to wonder about “certain” people here in Palm Coast – based off of some of the comments I have read here in the past it appears that people here are not too fond of children. Or perhaps it is something far more sinister. Very shady people here… SMH!
Concerned Citizen says
Who was he to murder a 14 year old girl?
Yet again the sympathy syndrome for someone who not only made a poor choice. But took an innocent life.
Sign me up to help push the plunger. Dhould have been done long ago.
Andrea Boggio says
Sargon of Akkad says
Human life is precious and killing this man isn’t going to bring back the 14 yr old. He probably is guilty, but only God, the victim, the killer and he really know. It has also been determined that some innocent people have been executed by the state. I support the idea of Blackstone’s ratio.
We dont euthanize dogs that bite people to keep other dogs from biting people. This guy doesn’t deserve to live.