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Supreme court overturns murder conviction because prosecutors excluded black jurors

Mississippi, Supreme Court, Curtis Flowers

The Supreme Court overturned Curtis Flowerss conviction Friday, ruling that prosecutors were discriminatory in removing black jurors (Picture: AP/Mississippi Department of Corrections)

A man previously convicted of murder may now go to trial for a seventh time after the Supreme Court reversed his conviction.

The highest US court ruled in favor of Curtis Flowers, convicted of a 1996 quadruple murder in Mississippi, because prosecutors kicked African-Americans off the juries in Flowerss past trials.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote the courts majority opinion on Friday and said the lower court committed clear error when then concluded the prosecutors removal of a black juror was not discriminatory.

Kavanaugh wrote: Equal justice under law requires a criminal trial free of racial discrimination in the jury selection process.

Flowers is on death row after he was convicted of shooting four people at a furniture store in Winona, Mississippi. Three of the victims were white, one was black.

Forensic expert Melissa Schoene, right, describes the crime scene to the jury in Curtis Giovanni Flowers murder trial, Friday, Feb. 6, 2004, in Winona, Miss. Flowers is being tried for the third time for the 1996 robbery and shooting deaths at Tardy Furniture Store. Those killed were store owner Bertha Tardy, 59, and employees, Derrick "BoBo" Stewart, 16, Carmen Rigby, 45, and deliveryman Robert Golden, 42. (AP Photo/Winona Times, Dale Gerstenslager)

: Forensic expert Melissa Schoene, right, describes the crime scene to the jury in Curtis Giovanni Flowers murder trial in February 2004 (Picture: AP)

Winona is a town of approximately 5,000 and the majority is black – but as his case was repeatedly tried, prosecutor Doug Evans barred 41 out of 42 black jurors from the trials.

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Evens reportedly barred five out of the six potential black jurors in his latest trial, which resulted in the jury sentencing Flowers to death.

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The case reached a sixth trial after the Supreme Court reversed an earlier conviction based on racial discrimination.

Kavanaugh wrote: The numbers speak loudly. Over the course of the first four trials, there were 36 black prospective jurors against whom the state could have exercised a peremptory strike. The state tried to strike all 36.

Of the two justices that opposed Fridays ruling, one was Justice Clarence Thomas, who is the only black member of the Supreme Court.

Thomas wrote: The majority builds its decision Read More – Source

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