1. Home
  2. /
  3. Politics
  4. /
  5. Slideshow
  6. /
  7. Federal Judge Orders New...

Federal Judge Orders New Trial for Mississippi Man on Death Row Over Jury Discrimination

A federal judge in Mississippi has made the decision to overturn the death penalty conviction of Terry Pitchford, asserting that the trial judge did not provide enough opportunity for Pitchford’s defense to argue that black jurors were being unfairly dismissed from the jury pool due to discriminatory reasons.

Judge’s Ruling and Background

Credits: DepositPhotos

U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills rendered the ruling, stating that Terry Pitchford must be granted a new trial on capital murder charges. The judge also cited the history of former District Attorney Doug Evans, accusing him of discriminating against Black jurors in the past.

State’s Intent to Appeal

Credits: DepositPhotos

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch’s spokesperson announced the state’s intention to appeal the decision. Despite the ruling, Pitchford remains on death row at Mississippi State Penitentiary.

Read More: Axelrod Stands Firm in Criticism of Biden as President’s Insult Raises Eyebrows: ‘Believes he can Outsmart Fate’

Six-Month Deadline for Retrial

Credits: DepositPhotos

Judge Mills has imposed a six-month deadline for Pitchford’s retrial.

He has also stated that if a new trial is not conducted within this timeframe, Pitchford must be released from custody.

Details of Pitchford’s Case

Credits: DepositPhotos

Pitchford was charged with murder in connection with the 2004 robbery of Crossroads Grocery, located just outside Grenada, Mississippi.

During the robbery, Pitchford’s friend Eric Bullins fatally shot store owner Reuben Britt.

Pitchford confessed to his involvement, stating that he had fired shots into the floor.

Flawed Jury Selection

Credits: DepositPhotos

Judge Mills highlighted the critical flaws in the jury selection process for Pitchford’s 2006 trial.

He pointed out that the trial judge did not adequately allow Pitchford’s defense lawyer to challenge the state’s removal of Black jurors.

Also Read: Democrats Achieve Historic Victory in Dauphin County, Potentially Flipping House Seat

Challenging Juror Exclusions

Credits: DepositPhotos

To demonstrate improper juror exclusions, a defendant must establish that discriminatory intent motivated the removals.

In Pitchford’s case, the jury pool, initially consisting of 61 white and 35 Black members, was reduced to a pool with 36 white and five Black members.

Prosecutors further removed four Black jurors, leaving only one Black juror on the final panel.

Lack of Opportunity for Rebuttal

Credits: DepositPhotos

Mills asserted that the defense had insufficient opportunity to challenge the state’s justifications for striking Black jurors.

The led to concerns of purposeful discrimination.

Appeal Arguments

Credits: DepositPhotos

During the appeal, Pitchford’s legal team argued that some reasons for rejecting Black jurors were flimsy.

They also raised the point that the state did not raise similar objections regarding white jurors with comparable issues.

Read Next: Astonishing Low Pass by MiG-29 Fighter Jet Caught on Video

Influence of Curtis Flowers Case

Credits: DepositPhotos

Judge Mills acknowledged the impact of another case prosecuted by Doug Evans, involving Curtis Flowers, a Black man tried six times for the shooting deaths of four people.

The U.S. Supreme Court had determined that Evans improperly excluded Black individuals from Flowers’ juries, resulting in the overturning of his conviction and death sentence.

Historical Racial Bias in Jury Selection

Credits: DepositPhotos

The judge referred to reports that exposed a long history of racial bias in jury selection by District Attorney Doug Evans, emphasizing that this context should have been considered in Pitchford’s appeal.

As the legal battle continues, the decision to grant Terry Pitchford a new trial underscores the importance of fair and non-discriminatory jury selection processes in criminal trials.

More from The Stock Dork – Increase in U.S. Prison Population Signals a Shift in Decade-Long Trend

Credits: DepositPhotos

Increase in U.S. Prison Population Signals a Shift in Decade-Long Trend

More from The Stock Dork – Ukrainian Military Intelligence Allegedly Airs Zelensky Speech in Crimea

Credits: DepositPhotos

Ukrainian Military Intelligence Allegedly Airs Zelensky Speech in Crimea

More from The Stock Dork – Gun Suicides in the United States Hit Record High in 2022, CDC Reports

Credits: DepositPhotos

Gun Suicides in the United States Hit Record High in 2022, CDC Reports

More from The Stock Dork – Tennessee Farmer Rescued from Corn Grain Bin Engulfment

Credits: DepositPhotos

Tennessee Farmer Rescued from Corn Grain Bin Engulfment

More from The Stock Dork – Montana’s Attempt to Ban TikTok Blocked by U.S. Judge

Credits: DepositPhotos
mm

Malik is a skilled writer with a passion for news and current events. With their keen eye for detail, they provide insightful perspectives on the latest happenings. Stay informed and engaged!