• Sep 14, 2010

Coalition Urges Louisiana Supreme Court to Find Courthouse’s Confederate Flag & Monument Violated Man’s Trial Rights

We have joined an unprecedented coalition of civil rights organizations, professors and scholars, and clergy leaders in filing an amicus brief before the Louisiana Supreme Court, urging the court to find that the flying of the confederate flag and existence of a confederate monument outside the courthouse where the Appellant was convicted at trial violated his constitutional rights, where he was an African-American man convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of a white firefighter.

The white prosecutor in his case struck African-Americans at a rate over three times that of white people from jury service. Thus, Appellant’s jury – selected in a parish whose population is nearly half African-American – consisted of 11 whites and only one African-American. His jurors attended jury selection over a week-long period, and the trial lasted for ten days. By the time they voted on a sentence, each juror had seen the flag more than a dozen times and likely two or three dozen times.

Appellant has persuasively demonstrated in his Brief on Appeal that the existence of the Confederate flag in front of the Caddo Parish courthouse has a substantial adverse impact on the administration of justice in the courthouse, including implementation of the State’s death penalty system, in violation of the Thirteenth Amendment’s prohibition on slavery and badges and incidents of slavery, and the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process and equal protection. The State responded that this issue is not preserved for appellate review. We urge the Louisiana Supreme Court t0 consider these important claims without resort to procedural bars, and to revisit the death sentence imposed on Appellant.

Read our brief:

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