The United States Supreme Court ruled Friday to overturn a conviction against Curtis Flowers, a man accused of killing four people inside of Tardy Funiture Store in 1996. In a 7-2 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that District Attorney Doug Evans prevented African Americans from serving on the jury.
According to the Washington Post, Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh wrote the majority opinion stating that it broke no new legal ground. Justice Clarence Thomas and Neil M. Gorsuch dissented.
In his dissent, Thomas wrote: “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,” He added: “If the court’s opinion today has a redeeming quality, it is this: The state is perfectly free to convict Curtis Flowers again.”
In a statement from Sheri Lynn Johnson, Counsel of Record for Petitioner Flowers and James and Mark Flanagan Professor of Law at Cornell Law School said “We are grateful that the Supreme Court has reversed Curtis Flowers’ conviction. Seven members of the Court painstakingly analyzed the complex factual record and concluded that Doug Evans discriminated on the basis of race in a decision that reaffirms the importance of racial fairness in the administration of criminal justice, both for the defendant and for the community. This is a victory for everyone.”
The statement went on: “The quadruple homicide in this case was a terrible crime, but Curtis Flowers did not commit it. While today’s decision is extremely important, it is also important to recognize that the conviction the Supreme Court has now overturned was a product, not only of racial discrimination in jury selection, but also of a wide array of other forms of prosecutorial misconduct, including: the use of grossly unreliable forensic evidence; the presentation of admittedly false jailhouse informant testimony procured through secret promises of leniency; the suppression of powerful evidence undercutting the claims of key prosecution witnesses; and the brazen misrepresentation of critical facts in the prosecutor’s arguments to the jury.”
Beverly Kraft, Public Information Officer Administrative Office of Courts said Friday that a retrial is possible in the case.
More information about this case will be released.