SCOTUS throws out case where black jurors were treated differently

Washington-DC

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — An African American man from Mississippi — Curtis Flowers — has been tried repeatedly for the murders of four people.

Each time, the case has been thrown out but the US Supreme Court overturned his latest conviction and left the door wide open for a new trial.

In a 7-2 decision, the US Supreme Court threw out Flowers’ death penalty conviction. 

“The Supreme Court has said here, that in this case, this prosecutor used race as the sole reason for striking individuals from juries,” Myesha Braden with the Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights.

Braden said in Flowers’ case, black potential jurors were treated differently.

“For the five potential black jurors that remained, this prosecutor asked 145 questions of those five jurors,” Braden said. “But for the eleven potential white jurors, only asked 12 questions.”

Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote the majority opinion saying that excluding jurors based on race is unconstitutional and that “the state wanted to try Flowers before a jury with just as few black jurors as possible, and ideally before an all-white jury.”

Braden said that violated Flowers’ constitutional right and the public’s right to a fair judicial process. 

Because the conviction was thrown out due to a technicality in the process, the prosecutor could still decide to try Flowers for the seventh time.

In fact, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his dissent that the possibility of a new trial was the majority opinion’s only redeeming quality.

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