Entries tagged with “Jury Selection

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Innocence

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Prosecutorial Accountability

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Oct 29, 2015

Amid Threatening Comments by Current DA, Death Penalty Dominates Caddo Parish Prosecutor Election

Capital pun­ish­ment is dom­i­nat­ing the dis­cus­sion in the runoff elec­tion between James E. Stewart, Sr. and Dhu Thompson to suc­ceed act­ing Caddo Parish, Louisiana District Attorney Dale Cox. Cox’s con­tro­ver­sial state­ments about the death penal­ty — includ­ing that the state needs to kill more peo­ple” — have focused nation­al atten­tion on the parish, which ranks among the two per­cent of U.S. coun­ties respon­si­ble for 56 per­cent of the inmates on death row nationwide.

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

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Race

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Dec 20, 2023

Batson Relief for Another Mississippi Prisoner Prosecuted by Doug Evans

On December 12, 2023 U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills over­turned Terry Pitchford’s death sen­tence and ordered Mississippi to retry him in 6 months or release him from cus­tody. Judge Mills found that the orig­i­nal tri­al judge failed to allow the defense to prop­er­ly chal­lenge the exclu­sion of Black jurors by now-retired District Attorney Doug Evans, the same pros­e­cu­tor who pros­e­cut­ed Curtis Flowers. This court can­not ignore the notion that Pitchford was seem­ing­ly giv­en no chance to rebut the state’s expla­na­tions and prove pur­pose­ful dis­crim­i­na­tion,” Judge Mills wrote.

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Race

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Representation

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Religion

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United States Supreme Court

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Women

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Feb 15, 2021

Capital Case Roundup — Death Penalty Court Decisions the Week of February 82021

NEWS (2/​11/​21) — Alabama: In a splin­tered vote with three con­ser­v­a­tive jus­tices not­ing their dis­sents, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the Alabama Attorney General’s appli­ca­tion to vacate a fed­er­al appeals court injunc­tion that had halt­ed that night’s sched­uled exe­cu­tion of Willie B. Smith III unless the state per­mit­ted his pas­tor to be present in the death cham­ber to pro­vide reli­gious com­fort dur­ing his exe­cu­tion. In a sec­ond night-of-exe­cu­tion order, the Court lift­ed a stay of exe­cu­tion based on Smith’s claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act that Alabama had failed…

Policy Issues

Representation

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Oct 26, 2020

Capital Case Roundup — Death Penalty Court Decisions the Week of October 192020

NEWS (10/​22/​20) — Florida: The Florida Supreme Court has upheld the con­vic­tion and death sen­tence for Daniel Craven, Jr. for a 2015 prison mur­der. The court denied Craven’s claims that he was uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly denied the right to rep­re­sent him­self and that the tri­al court had vio­lat­ed his right to a fair jury by impan­el­ing an African-American juror whom defense coun­sel had attempt­ed to peremp­to­ri­ly strike. It also reject­ed sev­er­al chal­lenges Craven posed to the aggra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances pre­sent­ed in the case.

Policy Issues

Race

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Nov 11, 2021

Citing Race Discrimination, Nashville Judge Reverses Conviction of Tennessee Death-Row Prisoner Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman, Approves Plea Deal for Life Sentence

A Nashville judge has for a sec­ond time approved a plea deal that would remove Abu-Ali Abdur’Rahman from Tennessees death row and resen­tence him to life with­out pos­si­bil­i­ty of parole. On November 9, 2021, Davidson County Criminal Court Judge Monte Watkins entered an order over­turn­ing Abdur’Rahman’s 1987 con­vic­tion based on for­mer Davidson County Assistant District Attorney General John Zimmerman’s uncon­sti­tu­tion­al use of dis­cre­tionary strikes to remove African Americans from the jury. The court then accept­ed a nego­ti­at­ed plea agree­ment between local pros­e­cu­tors and the defense that with­drew the death penalty…

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Race

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Sep 13, 2021

Death-Row Exoneree Curtis Flowers Sues Mississippi Prosecutor Who Prosecuted Him Six Times

Former Mississippi death-row pris­on­er Curtis Flowers (pic­tured), who was exon­er­at­ed in 2020, is suing the offi­cials whose mis­con­duct led to his arrest and repeat­ed wrong­ful con­vic­tion. Flowers was tried six times and spent 23 years wrong­ful­ly incar­cer­at­ed for a quadru­ple mur­der in a white-owned fur­ni­ture store in Winona, Mississippi. In a com­plaint filed September 3, 2021 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi, Flowers alleges that his tri­al pros­e­cu­tor, an inves­ti­ga­tor in the prosecutor’s office, and two police offi­cers involved in the inves­ti­ga­tion engaged in per­va­sive misconduct…

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Intellectual Disability

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Prosecutorial Accountability

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Race

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Mar 23, 2018

Jury Notes Show Georgia Prosecutors Empaneled White Juries to Try Black Death-Penalty Defendants

New court fil­ings argue that Columbus, Georgia pros­e­cu­tors had a pat­tern and prac­tice of sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly strik­ing black prospec­tive jurors because of their race, dis­crim­i­na­to­ri­ly empan­elling all- or near­ly-all-white juries to try black defen­dants on tri­al for their lives in cap­i­tal mur­der cases.

Policy Issues

Innocence

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Prosecutorial Accountability

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Race

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Nov 17, 2016

Louisiana Supreme Court Orders New Trial for Rodricus Crawford in Controversial Caddo Parish Death Penalty Case

The Louisiana Supreme Court has over­turned the con­vic­tion of Rodricus Crawford (pic­tured) and ordered that he be giv­en a new tri­al in a con­tro­ver­sial death penal­ty case that attract­ed nation­al atten­tion amid evi­dence of race dis­crim­i­na­tion, pros­e­cu­to­r­i­al excess, and actu­al innocence.

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

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Race

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Sentencing Alternatives

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Mar 08, 2022

Nearly Six Years After Supreme Court Granted Him a New Trial, Timothy Foster Resentenced to Life

Timothy Foster, whose con­vic­tion and death sen­tence were over­turned by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016 because Georgia pros­e­cu­tors dis­crim­i­na­to­ri­ly struck Black jurors from serv­ing in his case, has been resen­tenced to life in prison with­out the pos­si­bil­i­ty of parole.

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

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Race

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United States Supreme Court

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Apr 05, 2018

NEW PODCAST — Racial Discrimination in Death-Penalty Jury Selection: A Conversation with Steve Bright

Race dis­crim­i­na­tion exists at every stage of the death-penal­ty process, says vet­er­an death-penal­ty and civ­il-rights lawyer Stephen B. Bright (pic­tured), but the most per­va­sive dis­crim­i­na­tion that is going on is in jury selec­tion.” In a new Discussions With DPIC pod­cast, Bright — the for­mer President of the Southern Center for Human Rights who has argued jury dis­crim­i­na­tion cas­es three times in the U.S. Supreme Court — calls the ram­pant” racial dis­crim­i­na­tion in jury selec­tion a mat­ter of grave urgency.”

Policy Issues

Race

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Sep 23, 2022

North Carolina ACLU Challenges Death Qualification of Jurors as Racially and Sexually Discriminatory

Lawyers for a North Carolina cap­i­tal defen­dant have filed a sweep­ing chal­lenge to the method by which death-penal­ty jurors are empan­eled, argu­ing that the com­bi­na­tion of a process known as death qual­i­fi­ca­tion” and dis­cre­tionary jury strikes pro­duces a jury so racial­ly and sex­u­al­ly unrep­re­sen­ta­tive that it vio­lates a defendant’s right to a fair trial.

Policy Issues

Race

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Sep 28, 2020

North Carolina Supreme Court Restores Life Sentences to Three Prisoners Whose Death Sentences Violated Racial Justice Act

The North Carolina Supreme Court has ordered that three African American death-row pris­on­ers who had proven that their death sen­tences vio­lat­ed the state’s since repealed Racial Justice Act (RJA) must be resen­tenced to life impris­on­ment with­out pos­si­bil­i­ty of parole. In three deci­sions issued on September 25, 2020, the court ruled that North Carolina had vio­lat­ed con­sti­tu­tion­al prin­ci­ples of dou­ble jeop­ardy and the pro­hi­bi­tions against after-the-fact enhance­ments of pun­ish­ment when the Cumberland County tri­al court resen­tenced Christina Walters, Quintel Augustine, and Tilmon Golphin to death after they had estab­lished their enti­tle­ment to…

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

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Race

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Feb 20, 2024

Op-Ed: Law Professor Stephen Bright Encourages SCOTUS to Review Egregious Racial Discrimination” in Georgia Death Row Prisoner’s Case

In a February 14, 2024 op-ed pub­lished in the Washington Post, the long­time defense lawyer, for­mer direc­tor of the Southern Center for Human Rights, and law pro­fes­sor Stephen Bright high­lights the con­tin­ued ille­gal exclu­sion of Black jurors in vio­la­tion of Batson v. Kennedy (1986). The op-ed titled, Struck from a jury for being Black? It still hap­pens all too often,” uses the case of Georgia death-sen­tenced pris­on­er Warren King, whose peti­tion the U.S. Supreme Court is expect­ed to review on February 23, as the lat­est exam­ple of the per­sis­tent prac­tice. The…

Policy Issues

Race

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Feb 27, 2024

States’ Failure to Collect Juror Race Information Contributes to Whitewashed” Jury Box, Berkeley Law Report Finds

A new report from Berkeley Law’s Death Penalty Clinic finds that just 19 states col­lect race and eth­nic­i­ty infor­ma­tion from prospec­tive jurors, mean­ing that a major­i­ty of states can­not ensure that their juries are a rep­re­sen­ta­tive cross-sec­tion of the com­mu­ni­ty” as man­dat­ed by the Constitution. The report, Guess Who’s Coming to Jury Duty?, rec­om­mends that all states adopt a uni­form ques­tion­naire” to obtain prospec­tive jurors’ race or eth­nic­i­ty and that state courts annu­al­ly pub­lish aggre­gat­ed, anonymized race/​ethnicity data” for lit­i­gants and researchers inves­ti­gat­ing jury com­po­si­tion. The work builds on the…

Policy Issues

Arbitrariness

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Race

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Aug 18, 2015

STUDIES: Racial Bias in Jury Selection

A new study of tri­als in Caddo Parish, Louisiana, revealed that poten­tial jurors who were black were much more like­ly to be struck from juries than non-blacks. The results were con­sis­tent with find­ings from Alabama, North Carolina, and oth­er parts of Louisiana, high­light­ing an issue that will be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court this fall.

Facts & Research

United States Supreme Court

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Federal Death Penalty

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Oct 14, 2021

Supreme Court Hears Argument on Department of Justice Efforts to Reinstate Death Penalty in Boston Marathon Bombing Case

A United States Supreme Court sharply divid­ed along ide­o­log­i­cal lines heard oral argu­ment October 13, 2021 on the Department of Justice’s appeal of a fed­er­al cir­cuit court’s rul­ing over­turn­ing the death sen­tences imposed on Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for his con­vic­tions in the 2013 Boston Marathon bomb­ing. Veteran court watch­ers report­ed that the six con­ser­v­a­tive jus­tices seemed poised to over­turn the fed­er­al appeal court’s grant of a new penal­ty phase hear­ing to Tsarnaev and to return the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit to resolve the remain­ing challenges…

Policy Issues

Prosecutorial Accountability

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Race

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United States Supreme Court

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May 23, 2016

Supreme Court Rules Georgia Prosecutors Struck Death Penalty Jurors Because They Were Black, Grants New Trial

On May 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court over­turned the con­vic­tion and death sen­tence of Timothy Foster (pic­tured) because Georgia pros­e­cu­tors improp­er­ly exer­cised their dis­cre­tionary jury strikes on the basis of race to exclude African American jurors. The vote was 7 – 1, with Justice Thomas the lone dis­senter. Foster is now enti­tled to a new trial.

Policy Issues

Race

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Mar 12, 2021

Texas Federal Appeals Court Refuses to Consider Suppressed Evidence of Dallas Prosecutors’ Race-Based Jury Selection Practices, Upholds Conviction and Death Sentence

A fed­er­al appeals court has per­mit­ted a Texas dis­trict court to dis­miss a death-row prisoner’s claim that Dallas pros­e­cu­tors uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly struck Black jurors in his case with­out con­sid­er­ing evi­dence of racial dis­crim­i­na­tion that pros­e­cu­tors had with­held from the defense dur­ing state court lit­i­ga­tion on the issue.