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Flowers v. Mississippi

139 S.Ct. 2228 (2019)

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Flowers v. Mississippi

United States Supreme Court

139 S.Ct. 2228 (2019)

Facts

Curtis Flowers (defendant), who is Black, was tried six times for murders that took place in 1996. The first and second juries convicted, but the Mississippi Supreme Court reversed because of prosecutorial misconduct. During the third trial, the prosecutor used peremptory challenges to strike all Black prospective jurors, and the appellate court reversed for that reason. In the fourth and fifth trials, the prosecutor struck all but five and three Black jurors respectively, resulting in hung juries. In the sixth trial, in an evident attempt to find pretextual reasons to strike Black jurors, the prosecutor asked them dramatically more questions than White jurors and struck all but one Black juror. At least one struck prospective Black juror was similarly situated to White jurors who remained. The jury convicted, and Flowers appealed. All told, the prosecution used peremptory challenges to strike 41 of 42 Black prospective jurors it could have struck over six trials. But the Mississippi Supreme Court found nondiscriminatory grounds for the prosecution’s challenges and affirmed. Flowers appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kavanaugh, J.)

Concurrence (Alito, J.)

Dissent (Thomas, J.)

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