Supreme Court Tosses Black Man's Murder Conviction Over Racial Bias

Dale Gerstenslager  AP FILE
Curtis Giovanni Flowers left listens to testimony in his third capital murder trial in Winona Miss. Feb. 6 2004

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. Some prosecutors, including in Southern states like MS, have been accused over the decades of trying to ensure predominately white juries for trials of black defendants to help win convictions.

Writing for the majority, Justice Brett Kavanaugh said that prosecutor Doug Evans-who oversaw all six trials-violated Flowers' constitutional rights when he sought to keep African-Americans off of the jury. The Mississippi Supreme Court affirmed the conviction.

Flowers' case is anomalous only because of the number of times he was tried by the same prosecutor and the prosecutor's repeated misconduct. Two other trials ended when jurors couldn't reach unanimous verdicts.

Thomas wrote, "Flowers presented no evidence whatsoever of purposeful race discrimination by the State in selecting the jury during the trial below".

The Mississippi Supreme Court upheld the sixth conviction, however the US Supreme Court overturned it on Friday. Kavanaugh opposed the ruling.

"In sum, the Suppose's pattern of placing black doable jurors endured from Plant life' first trial thru Plant life' sixth trial", he wrote.

"The State asked the five black prospective jurors who were struck a total of 145 questions", Kavanaugh continued, adding that, "By contrast, the State asked the 11 seated white jurors a total of 12 questions". On the sixth trial, the Suppose struck 5 of six. As a result, two black jurors were seated, and the juries deadlocked. There are more - in each case, there are more than one black juror.

Justice Neil Gorsuch joined most of Thomas' opinion.

"There's a strong argument that the statute requires bail to be set for Mr. Flowers", said Tom Fortner, a prominent MS defense lawyer who has cited that law in another case. The case attracted national attention when Thomas spoke during arguments for the first time in three years. "Although the court's opinion might boost its self-esteem, it also needlessly prolongs the suffering of four victims' families", he wrote. A jailhouse informant who claimed Flowers had confessed to him recanted in recorded telephone conversations with "In the Dark". "We hope that the State of MS will finally disavow Doug Evans' misconduct, decline to pursue yet another trial, and set Mr. Flowers free".

The Supreme Court was not considering the evidence against Flowers, but instead examining Evans's prosecutorial tactics.

His opinion pointed out that one excluded black juror in particular, Carolyn Wright, was "similarly situated" to white jurors whom the prosecution did not oppose.

In the six trials combined, Kavanaugh said that the prosecutor "moved to strike 41 of the 42 Black prospective jurors and "engaged in dramatically disparate questioning of Black and white prospective jurors". The Supreme Court tried to end discrimination in the composition of juries in 1986, but it has been harder to root out in practice. He said that all the Court did was "reaffirm the force of its major precedent on racial discrimination in jury selection, sending a message to the lower courts that that decision still means what it said". At each trial, he faced all-white juries.

Clemmie Flemming parts out the set up she noticed Curtis Vegetation the morning of July 16, 1996, after four slayings took place at Tardy Furniture in Winona, Fade out., June 14, 2010, in Greenwood, Fade out.

Flowers is accused of killing four people, execution-style, in a furniture store in 1996 in the town of Winona. Stewart changed into as soon as taken to a sanatorium, where he later died.

Multiple witnesses saw Flowers in the vicinity of the store.

Kavanaugh opinion overturns conviction of... The district legal skilled is operating unopposed for reelection in November of this one year.

" 'I know he was happy because when I go visit him, he didn't have no joy like that, ' Archie said".

They will be publishing a new episode of the podcast Friday night.

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