X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Justice Clarence Thomas

Once again, the Supreme Court has turned back for further review and a possible new trial a capital murder conviction and death sentence because of a juror’s racist comments. Tharpe v. Sellers, decided Jan. 8. Tharpe had been convicted of a particularly brutal murder. He ambushed his wife who had left him and forced her into his truck. He then shot her sister, dumped her into a ditch and murdered her, before driving off to kidnap and rape his wife. After unsuccessful appeals to state and federal courts, he again sought habeas corpus relief on the ground that a white juror was biased against him because he is black. The 11th Circuit, federal district and state courts all had concluded that he failed to demonstrate that the juror’s “behavior had substantial and injurious effect or influence in determining the jury’s verdict.” This conclusion, the five-justice per curiam majority agreed, generally would be binding “in the absence of clear and convincing evidence to the contrary.” The majority found such evidence in an affidavit by a single white juror, interrogated by defense counsel seven years after Tharpe’s conviction. As summarized by the majority, the affiant stated: “In his view there are two types of black people,: 1: Black folks and 2. N****r;” that Tharpe, “who wasn’t in the ‘good‘ black’ folks category in my book, should get the electric chair for what he did”; that some of the jurors voted for death because they felt Tharpe should be an example to other blacks who kill blacks, but that wasn’t his reason. The majority concluded that this “remarkable affidavit – which he never retracted” presented a strong factual basis for the argument that Tharpe’s race affected the juror’s vote for a death verdict, and that at the very least jurists of reason could debate whether Tharpe had shown by clear and convicting evidence that the state court’s factual determination was wrong.  The court had stayed Tharpe’s execution just moments before he was to be lethally injected, granted his petition for certiorari,  and without further briefing or argument summarily vacated the 11th Circuit judgment and remanded for further consideration of entitlement to habeas corpus relief.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at customercare@alm.com

 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2018 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.