Erike de la Garza, Courthouse News, November 18, 2019
A Mississippi district attorney who prosecuted a black man six times for the same crime is facing a class action lawsuit that claims he has carried out a 27-year-old pattern of racial discrimination in the jury selection process by excluding black citizens from serving as jurors.
The lawsuit filed on Monday comes three months after the state’s high court threw out the murder conviction of Curtis Flowers following a scathing rebuke from the U.S. Supreme Court, which found District Attorney Doug Evans improperly kept black citizens off the jury.
Evans has tried Flowers six times over the past two decades for the 1996 murders of four people in a Winona furniture store, and over the years Evans has unseated 41 of 43 potential black jurors in the case.
In 2010, Evans removed five of six black jurors in Flowers’ trial.
The lawsuit filed Monday by a Mississippi branch of the NAACP and four black voters asks U.S. District Judge Debra Brown to order Evans and his seven-county office in rural Mississippi to stop using peremptory challenges to intentionally strike prospective black jurors because of their race.