UPDATE: Time and place of Flowers hearing changed

By AMANDA SEXTON FERGUSON,

A bail hearing has been set for Curtis Giovanni Flowers in Montgomery County Circuit Court, however, the time and location of the hearing has been changed.

Judge Joseph Loper will hear arguments on December 16 in regards to a motion made by Flowers asking the court to set reasonable bail as he awaits his seventh trial for capital murder.  The hearing will be at 10 a.m. at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Winona.

Flowers stands accused of killing four people – Bertha Tardy, 59; Carmen Rigby, 45; Robert Golden, 42, and Derrick “Bobo” Stewart, 16; – in a Winona furniture store in 1996. 

The United States Supreme Court overturned Flowers’ 2010 conviction in June, and the Mississippi State Supreme Court returned it to the Montgomery County Circuit Court this month.  The 2010 conviction was the sixth time Flowers was tried for the murders.  Three were overturned by the Mississippi Supreme Court, and two were declared mistrials with hung juries.

Rob McDuff, attorney for Flowers, filed the motion with the Montgomery County Circuit Court in September arguing that Mississippi law requires bail for a defendant after two capital murder mistrials, which occurred in trials four and five of Flowers.

McDuff argued that the Mississippi Constitution requires bail, providing “that a person accused of a capital offense shall be granted bail unless “the proof is evident or the presumption is great.”  He argued that if there are conditions placed on bail by the court, it must be the “‘least onerous’ conditions necessary.”

McDuff stated that after three prosecution witnesses recanted their trial testimony to reporters from APM reports which aired as part of the podcast, “In the Dark,” “Surely a reasonable doubt can be entertained.  Therefore the proof is not evident and the presumption of not great, and the Mississippi Constitution requires that bail must be granted.”

In a second motion to the court filed in September, McDuff urged the court to dismiss the indictments against Flowers, “pursuant to the double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment and the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution.

McDuff stated that when the state has tried a defendant six times for the same offense, “and was determined to have engaged in wrong-doing in four of those trials,” the possibility of an innocent person being convicted is “even greater than the Double Jeopardy Clause permits.”

“Flowers has repeatedly been forced to run the exhausting gauntlet of unfair trials before juries carefully selected to obit members of his own race, all the while remaining in prison due to recurring violations of the constitution.  These circumstances demonstrate the very kind of ‘trial by attrition’ prohibited by due process,” McDuff argued.

Flowers is currently being held in the Winston County Jail in Louisville.

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