The Latest

THE LATEST

THE LATEST THINKING

THE LATEST THINKING

The opinions of THE LATEST’s guest contributors are their own.

The Supreme Court Got It Right…

W. Scott Cole

Posted on June 25, 2019 00:43

0 user

But will the State of Mississippi? Today we are discussing the case of Curtis Flowers, a black man who has stood trial for murder six times. You read that right. Six times. The surprise is who the main dissenter was in this case.

Curtis Flowers was arrested for allegedly murdering four people in Mississippi in 1996. Since that time, he has been in prison, with 20 of those 23 years being in solitary confinement. In his first three trials, he was convicted, but the convictions were all overturned by the Mississippi State Supreme Court. His fourth and fifth trials both ended in a hung jury, and he was convicted in his sixth trial. The United States Supreme Court just now overturned that conviction.

The same prosecutor tried Mr. Flowers all six times, and all four convictions were overturned for the same reason: prosecutorial misconduct. I mentioned the fact that Mr. Flowers is black, because that misconduct in six trials was in the form of intentionally excluding African Americans from the juries.

In jury selection, each side has what are called peremptory challenges, meaning they can exclude a certain number of people from a jury, without giving a reason. The prosecutor in these six trials used his peremptory challenges to exclude 41 out of 42 blacks that were in the jury pools. In the sixth trial, the Mississippi Supreme Court finally let a conviction stand, evidently because it was the trial that finally had the lone black juror that the prosecutor was not able to exclude.

As a result, the case of Curtis Flowers found itself in front of the United States Supreme Court. The Supreme Court voted 7-2 to overturn Mr. Flowers’ conviction. Justice Kavanaugh (yes, the Brett Kavanaugh that liberals screamed would set the Supreme Court back 100 years) wrote the opinion for the Court, and he was not nice to the Doug Evans, the prosecutor, calling his actions almost cartoonishly racist, while saying that any court that is confronted by a pattern of racist behavior such as was evident in this case cannot ignore it.

The Justice who wrote the dissent in this case? Clarence Thomas, the Court’s lone black justice, who not only saw nothing wrong with the prosecution’s actions, he called them “blameless.” Instead, he was outraged by the seven who voted to overturn Mr. Flowers’ conviction, saying that the case was decided in order “to boost the Court’s self-esteem,” and even blamed the media for giving the case as much attention as it did.

During the course of his dissent, he virtually called for the Court to overturn its decision in the 1986 case of Batson v. Kentucky, in which the Supreme Court held that intentionally excluding jurors based on race violated a defendant’s constitutional rights.

The Supreme Court reached the right decision, but will the State of Mississippi? At this point, Mr. Flowers has served 23 years in prison for murders he may or may not have committed. Mississippi can’t seem to convict him in a way that meets Constitutional muster. It seems to me that six tries at it are enough. Mississippi needs to forget about a seventh trial, but will they?

W. Scott Cole

Posted on June 25, 2019 00:43

Comments

comments powered by Disqus
Source: HuffPost
1

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) on Wednesday said he sympathizes with young black men who are disproportionately targeted by the...

THE LATEST THINKING

Video Site Tour

The Latest
The Latest

Subscribe to THE LATEST Newsletter.

The Latest
The Latest

Share this TLT through...

The Latest