The US Supreme Court Will Toss a Quadruple Murderer’s Conviction Citing ‘Racial Bias’, Yet they are Themselves ‘Bias’ for Failing to Protect Homeowners and Families from Corrupt Lenders and Lawyers

THE US SUPREME COURT HAS FAILED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. It is Totally Unacceptable, yet the People of America are Not Saying Enough, so the Courts can Keep Ignoring the Citizens if they continue to be Voiceless and Timid. Wake Up America.

That’s over a decade and not a Single Case Has Been Taken and Deutsche Bank just Walked from a $7.2 Billion DOJ Settlement. How is that Even Possible?

It is Totally Unacceptable, yet the People of America are Not Saying Enough, so the Courts can Keep Ignoring the Citizens if they continue to be Voiceless and Timid. Wake Up America.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court, confronting racial bias in the American criminal justice system, on Friday threw out a black Mississippi death row inmate’s conviction in his sixth trial for a 1996 quadruple murder conviction, finding that a prosecutor unlawfully blocked black potential jurors.

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. The ruling does not preclude Mississippi from putting Flowers on trial for a seventh time.

Kavanaugh, appointed by President Donald Trump last year, wrote that the prosecutors sought to strike black jurors through all six trials. Prosecutors “engaged in dramatically disparate questioning of black and white prospective jurors” at his sixth trial, Kavanaugh added.

The prosecution’s decision in the most recent trial to strike one black juror in particular “was motivated in substantial part by discriminatory intent,” Kavanaugh wrote.

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.

Justice Neil Gorsuch, appointed by Trump in 2017, and fellow conservative Justice Clarence Thomas dissented in the case.

In his dissenting opinion, Thomas described the ruling as “manifestly incorrect.” Thomas noted the court’s majority “does not dispute that the evidence was sufficient to convict Flowers or that he was tried by an impartial jury.”

Thomas, the only black Supreme Court justice and one of its most conservative members, asked his first questions during an oral argument in three years when the case was argued in March. His questions centered on whether defense lawyers for Flowers during his trials had excluded white potential jurors.

In U.S. trials, prosecutors and defense lawyers can dismiss – or “strike” – a certain number of prospective jurors during the jury selection process without stating a reason. Some prosecutors, including in Southern states like Mississippi, have been accused over the decades of trying to ensure predominately white juries for trials of black defendants to help win convictions.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1986 that people cannot be excluded from a jury because of their race, based on the right to a fair trial under the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment and the 14th Amendment promise of equal protection under the law. Friday’s ruling applied that precedent and, Kavanaugh wrote, “we break no new legal ground.”

Flowers was appealing his 2010 conviction, in his sixth trial, on charges of murdering four people at the Tardy Furniture store where he previously worked in the small central Mississippi city of Winona. There were 11 white jurors and one black juror.

His lawyers accused long-serving Montgomery County District Attorney Doug Evans, who is white, of engaging in a pattern of removing black jurors that indicated an unlawful discriminatory motive. Evans has given non-racial reasons for striking black potential jurors.

Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, a Democrat, said it is now up to Evans to decide whether Flowers will face another trial. Evans could not immediately be reached for comment.

Flowers’ lawyer, Sheri Lynn Johnson, expressed hope Flowers would not face another trial.

“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.

Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law civil rights group, said the ruling should “sound an alarm” for prosecutors who engage in racial discrimination during jury selection.

“Racial bias continues to infect virtually every stage of our criminal justice system, including the jury selection process,” Clarke added.

In 2016, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a black Georgia death row inmate who also said black potential jurors were excluded by the prosecution in his case. In 2017, the court ruled in separate cases that a Hispanic man could challenge his conviction based on a juror’s racist comments and that a black Texas death row inmate could seek to avoid execution due to testimony from an expert witness at trial who said the man was more likely to commit future crimes because of his race.

Flowers was found guilty in his first three trials – the first one with an all-white jury and the next two with just one black juror – but those convictions were thrown out by Mississippi’s top court. Several black jurors participated in the fourth and fifth trials, which ended without a verdict because the jury both times failed to produce a unanimous decision.

Prosecutors have said Flowers was upset with the store owner for firing him and withholding his paycheck to cover the cost of batteries he had damaged. Flowers was convicted of killing store owner Bertha Tardy, 59; bookkeeper Carmen Rigby, 45; delivery worker Robert Golden, 42; and part-time employee Derrick Stewart, 16. All except Golden were white.

Flowers v. Mississippi

Docket No. Op. Below Argument Opinion Vote Author Term
17-9572 Miss. Mar 20, 2019
Jun 21, 2019 7-2 Kavanaugh OT 2018

Holding: The trial court at Curtis Flowers’ sixth murder trial committed clear error in concluding that the state’s peremptory strike of a particular black prospective juror was not motivated in substantial part by discriminatory intent.

JudgmentReversed and remanded, 7-2, in an opinion by Justice Kavanaugh on June 21, 2019. Justice Alito filed a concurring opinion. Justice Thomas filed a dissenting opinion, in which Justice Gorsuch joined as to Parts I, II, and III.

SCOTUSblog Coverage

Date Proceedings and Orders (key to color coding)
Apr 30 2018 Application (17A1205) to extend the time to file a petition for a writ of certiorari from May 23, 2018 to July 7, 2018, submitted to Justice Alito.
May 02 2018 Application (17A1205) granted by Justice Alito extending the time to file until June 22, 2018.
Jun 22 2018 Petition for a writ of certiorari and motion for leave to proceed in forma pauperis filed. (Response due July 26, 2018)
Jul 17 2018 Motion to extend the time to file a response from July 26, 2018 to August 27, 2018, submitted to The Clerk.
Jul 20 2018 Motion to extend the time to file a response is granted and the time is extended to and including August 27, 2018.
Jul 26 2018 Brief amici curiae of Magnolia Bar Association, Mississippi Center for Justice, and Innocence Project New Orleans filed.
Aug 20 2018 Motion to extend the time to file a response from August 27, 2018 to September 26, 2018, submitted to The Clerk.
Aug 23 2018 Motion to extend the time to file a response is granted and the time is further extended to and including September 26, 2018.
Sep 27 2018 Brief of respondent Mississippi in opposition filed.
Oct 09 2018 Reply of petitioner Curtis Flowers filed. (Distributed)
Oct 11 2018 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of 10/26/2018.
Oct 29 2018 DISTRIBUTED for Conference of 11/2/2018.
Nov 02 2018 Motion to proceed in forma pauperis and petition for a writ of certiorari GRANTED limited to the following question: Whether the Mississippi Supreme Court erred in how it applied Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U. S. 79 (1986), in this case.
Nov 20 2018 Motion for an extension of time to file the joint appendix and petitioner’s brief on the merits filed.
Nov 27 2018 Motion to extend the time to file the joint appendix and petitioner’s brief on the merits granted and the time is extended to and including December 27, 2018.
Dec 27 2018 Brief amicus curiae of NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund, Inc. filed.
Dec 27 2018 Joint appendix filed (2 Volumes). (Statement of costs filed)
Dec 27 2018 Brief of petitioner Curtis Flowers filed.
Jan 03 2019 Brief amici curiae of Former Justice Department Officials filed.
Jan 08 2019 Motion of respondent for an extension of time filed.
Jan 15 2019 Motion to extend the time to file respondent’s brief on the merits is granted to and including February 7, 2019.
Jan 25 2019 SET FOR ARGUMENT on Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Feb 07 2019 Brief of respondent State of Mississippi filed.
Feb 14 2019 CIRCULATED
Feb 26 2019 Record received from the Supreme Court of Mississippi is electronic and complete.
Mar 07 2019 Reply of petitioner Curtis Flowers filed. (Distributed)
Mar 20 2019 Argued. For petitioner: Sheri Lynn Johnson, Ithaca, N. Y. For respondent: Jason Davis, Special Assistant Attorney General, Jackson, Miss.
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