Curtis Flowers case to get U.S. Supreme Court review

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The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to review the appeal of a Mississippi man on death row who has been tried six times for the murders of four people at a Winona furniture store in 1996.

MDOC

Curtis Flowers

Curtis Flowers, who has spent the majority of the last two decades at Mississippi State Penitentiary in Parchman, may have a chance at a seventh trial for a crime that he has continued to maintain his innocence – even after District Attorney Doug Evans has repeatedly re-tried the case following several successful appeals and two mistrials.

The case has garnered national attention since it was featured on the investigative podcast “In the Dark” by American Public Media, examining evidence about other potential suspects and flaws in the case against Flowers, who is currently being represented by a team from the Cornell Death Penalty Project.

The podcast also examined racial discrimination in the jury selections for Flowers’s trials, finding that over Evans’s tenure, prosecutors in his district struck black jurors over four times the rate they excluded white jurors.

In granting writ of certiorari, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether the state supreme court erred in applying Batson v. Kentucky, which ruled that prosecutors could not strike jurors solely because of their race.

Flowers’s legal team filed the petition for a writ of certiorari in June.

Another appeal effort led by a different legal team, including the Mississippi Innocence Project, was filed in 2016. The request for post-conviction relief, which attempts to include new evidence in the case, is currently on hold as the Supreme Court appeal continues.