The Latest: Justices seem troubled by Mississippi conviction
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Supreme Court arguments on excluding black jurors (all times local):
The Supreme Court is likely to throw out the death sentence and conviction of a black Mississippi man because the prosecutor improperly excluded African-American jurors.
The court’s arguments Wednesday were enlivened at the end by questions from Justice Clarence Thomas.
A clear majority of the court was troubled by the actions of District Attorney Doug Evans in the prosecution of inmate Curtis Flowers.
Thomas is the only African-American on the court and almost never asks questions at arguments. But after his colleagues peppered lawyers with questions about striking African-Americans from the jury, Thomas asked if Flowers’ lawyer had similarly excused jurors and of what race.
Flowers’ Supreme Court lawyer replied that the trial attorney excused three white jurors.
The Supreme Court is hearing arguments over a Mississippi prosecutor’s decision to keep African-Americans off a black death row inmate’s jury in a murder trial.
The appeal comes from inmate Curtis Flowers, who has been tried six times for the same crime.
Three convictions were tossed out, including one when the prosecutor improperly excluded African-Americans from the jury. Two other trials ended when jurors couldn’t reach unanimous verdicts.
Flowers argues that the court should throw out his latest conviction and death sentence for killing four people because of racial bias in jury selection at his sixth trial.
The Supreme Court tried to end discrimination in the composition of juries in 1986, but it has been harder to root out in practice.