Supreme Court Tosses Conviction of Black Man Tried Six Times for Murder

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But the Supreme Court made clear that in making its decision it could not ignore the history of this case and its prosecutor.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch disagreed.

They say he was racially discriminatory when striking African-American jurors from the panel. In that case, the court observed, the prosecutor asked the five black prospective jurors he struck a total of 145 questions, compared with 12 questions posed to the 11 white jurors who were seated.

"Today's decision distorts the record of this case, eviscerates our standard of review, and vacates four murder convictions because the state struck a juror who would have been stricken by any competent attorney", Justice Thomas wrote in opposition to the ruling.

It remains unclear whether the state of MS will try Flowers again for a seventh time. They say witness statements and physical evidence against Flowers are too weak to convict him.

"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", Johnson said.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, said it is now up to Evans to decide whether Flowers will face another trial. The second season, which debuted earlier this year, starts by introducing Flowers as "a black man from a small town in MS who has spent the last twenty-one years fighting for his life, and a white prosecutor who has spent that same time trying just as hard to execute him". Flowers was charged with executing four people inside Tardy Furniture Store in the small town of Winona, Miss., in 1996. Two trials - the one ones with better than one black juror - resulted in hung juries. While the court sided with Flowers, its ruling does not preclude MS from putting him on trial for a seventh time.

The court, in a 7-2 ruling written by conservative Justice Brett Kavanaugh, found that the prosecutor's actions violated the right of Curtis Flowers, 49, under the U.S. Constitution to receive a fair trial. Flowers was convicted of murdering Bertha Tardy, 59, and store employees Carmen Rigby, 45, Robert Golden, 42, and 16-year-old Derrick "Bo Bo" Stewart, and sentenced to death.

"The order's relentless, positive effort to rid the jury of shadowy folks strongly means that the order desired to construct up a look at Vegetation before a jury with as few shadowy jurors as imaginable, and ideally before an all-white jury".

The decision was the latest of several in recent years in which the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of individual criminal defendants on race-related issues.

While prosecutors and defense lawyers are allowed to use what are called peremptory challenges to eliminate potential jurors they are not allowed to do so on the basis of race.

Flowers had worked at the store, but had recently been fired. District Attorney Doug Evans struck five other African-Americans from the jury pool in the process. "The states' explanations" for the strikes were "race neutral and were not the product of pretext", Hood argued.

"At the sixth trial, in an apparent effort to find pretextual reasons to strike black prospective jurors, the State engaged in dramatically disparate questioning of black and white prospective jurors", Kavanaugh said. "We simply enforce and reinforce Batson by applying it to the extraordinary facts of this case".

"When news of the Supreme Court decision reached Curtis' father, Archie, at his home in Winona, Mississippi, on Friday, he was thrilled".

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