I have been thinking a lot about SPM’s assertion in his last letter, that because of the height of the bed in question the crime he was convicted of would have been physically impossible to commit. Not so much the mechanics of the situation, as without an accurate measurement it would be impossible to verify the claim; but about whether or not having something like that, some sort of concrete proof of his innocence, would be enough to get him a new trial.
In Herrera V Collins (1993), the Supreme Court ruled that, as long as all the justice system’s duck were in a row, that every ‘i’ was dotted and every ‘t’ was crossed, being factually innocent wasn’t enough to overturn a death sentence.
It looks like this was revised in 2013, when they decided that "actual innocence ... serves as a gateway through which a petitioner may pass"; that’s mighty nice of them. However, the burden of proof is very high. If Coy could prove that he was physically incapable of committing this assault, it might be enough.
Another question, though, is why it was not brought up at trial. The defense presumably had access to both the bed and a tape measure, and this point should have been introduced at trial. Would the appeals court decide that, because the defense had access to a potential proof of innocence but didn’t bring it up during trial, they forfeited the right to use it? It’s possible.
A final question, which would not be considered by the Supreme Court, is how the fuck did we wind up with a series of laws so convoluted that we can even entertain the thought that an innocent person may be permitted to die in prison because they received a technically perfect trial?