Gilmer & Giglio

Blog

United States Supreme Court reverses conviction in Curtis Flowers' Sixth Trial for Murder

On Friday, June 21, 2019, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling reversing the conviction of Curtis Flowers for First Degree Murder after his sixth trial. Four of Flowers’ previous trials had been overturned for prosecutorial misconduct in jury selection and the fifth ended in a mistrial. The issue before the Supreme Court was whether the prosecution’s systematic removal of black potential jurors from the jury was a violation of the Court’s precedent in Batson v. Kentucky. Flowers’ case was the subject of much public and media scrutiny over the past year due to its being featured in the second season of the podcast “In The Dark.”

Scotusblog has a good write-up of the opinion issued by Justice Brett Kavanaugh:

“The State’s relentless, determined effort,” Kavanaugh concluded, “to rid the jury of black individuals strongly suggests that the State wanted to try Flowers before a jury with as few black jurors as possible, and ideally before an all-white jury.” Such a history, Kavanaugh stressed, cannot be ignored when considering Evans’ intent going into Flowers’ sixth trial.

Justice Kavanaugh’s full opinion and those of the two dissenting Justices, Thomas & Gorsuch, can be read here.