Supreme Court Weighs In on Unprecedented Murder Case
Jun 24, 2019, 00:38
The Supreme Court on Friday overturned the murder conviction of a Black man on the grounds that a MS district attorney intentionally kept Black jurors off the case.
"The numbers speak loudly", Justice Brett Kavanaughwrote for the majority. "In the six trials blended, the Suppose struck 41 of the 42 black doable jurors it might perchance perchance most likely perchance occupy struck". Friday's ruling applied that precedent and, Kavanaugh wrote, "we break no new legal ground".
On Friday, Thomas, joined by Neil Gorsuch, called the majority opinion "manifestly incorrect". Thomas went so far as calling for the court to junk its 1986 decision in Batson v. Kentucky, which says potential jurors can not be excluded due to their race, and lawyers must provide a nondiscriminatory explanation for striking them.
Curtis Flowers was tried six times by the same prosecutor for killing four people at a furniture store 23 years ago. And the MS high court in the 2010 case deferred to a judge's finding that Evans had nondiscriminatory reasons for striking the black jurors - because they had ties to Flowers or had been sued by Tardy Furniture, for instance.
In Mississippi, a southern state with a history of slavery and racial segregation, "I met only one white person who thought that Curtis Flowers was innocent", Baran told AFP. They said a seventh trial "would be unprecedented, and completely unwarranted given both the flimsiness of the evidence against him and the long trail of misconduct that has kept him wrongfully incarcerated all these years".
Flowers's lawyers said that means looking at Evans's work in previous trials, not just the most recent one.
This Aug. 3, 2017 listing supplied by Mississippi Division of Corrections reveals Curtis Vegetation, who's homicide case has long gone to trial six times. Flowers was charged with executing four people inside Tardy Furniture Store in the small town of Winona, Miss., in 1996.
The first three trials were dismissed because of prosecutor misconduct and the second two ended in hung juries.
In this March 20, 2019 file photo, Attorney Sheri Johnson leaves the Supreme Court after challenging a MS prosecutor's decision to keep African-Americans off the jury in the trial of Curtis Flowers, in Washington. "Flowers presented no evidence whatsoever of purposeful race discrimination by the State".
Defense attorneys could also seek to remove Evans and state court Judge Joseph Loper from the case.
"Any competent prosecutor would have exercised the same strikes as the State did in this trial".
Multiple witnesses saw Flowers in the vicinity of the store.
The justices weighed Evans' history of striking African-American jurors. These are tough cases for states to decide when there's an old case to try to see if they have anything that they can persuade a jury that this guy is guilty. As a result, two black jurors were seated, and the juries deadlocked.
"The Constitution forbids striking even a single prospective juror for a discriminatory objective", Kavanaugh said. "We simply enforce and reinforce Batson by applying it to the extraordinary facts of this case".
Thomas spent much of the important section of his conception questioning why his colleagues took the case within the important rep 22 situation - to illustrate, citing the "dazzling quantity of media attention" surrounding the case. A jailhouse informant who claimed Flowers had confessed to him recanted in recorded telephone conversations with American Public Media's "In the Dark" podcast. The Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the conviction. The dissenters here were Justice Thomas and Justice Gorsuch. "Although the court's opinion might boost its self-esteem, it also needlessly prolongs the suffering of four victims' families", he wrote.
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