By Alan Bean
Just over three years after Curtis Flowers was convicted for murdering four people at a Mississippi furniture store in 1996, his attorneys have filed an appeal. You may wonder how it could take three years to compose an appeal brief, especially in a case so open-and-shut that a jury took only 29 minutes to render a guilty verdict.
This wasn’t Curtis Flowers’ first courtroom rodeo. In fact, he has gone to trial on these charges six times, more than any other capital defendant in the history of American jurisprudence.
Convictions in Flowers 1 and 2 were reversed by the Mississippi Supreme Court due to gross prosecutorial misconduct (primarily arguing facts not in evidence) and racially biased jury selection procedures. Other trials ended in hung juries, largely because DA Doug Evans, fearful of another reversal, didn’t take heroic measures to keep African Americans off the jury. In the most dramatic case, five Black jurors voted to acquit while seven White jurors found Evans’ case convincing. (more…)