Published on: Saturday, September 5, 2020

The saga of Mississippi death row inmate Curtis Flowers, whose case was argued before the Supreme Court following his sixth trial for a homicide in 1996, struck even Justice Sam Alito as too much to endure, calling it "troubling," has ended, additional information available here. Flowers spent almost 23 years behind bars, after his first through third trial convictions were reversed, his fourth and fifth trials resulted in mistrials, and his sixth resulted in a conviction reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court. The issue was Batson, the use of peremptory strikes by District Attorney Doug Evans to remove as many Black people from the jury as he could. The justices noted the Mississippi Supreme Court had found that in three prior convictions, the prosecution had misrepresented evidence and deliberately eliminated Black jurors. Now, more than a year after the Supreme Court struck down Flowers' latest conviction, prosecutors moved to dismiss the case with prejudice.

DA Evans has been the chief prosecutor in a district that covers seven central Mississippi counties for nearly 29 years. He is the subject of at least one bar complaint and a federal civil rights lawsuit. Despite those legal challenges, the national controversy over his handling of the Flowers case and an excoriation by the Supreme Court, Evans was reelected to another four-year term as district attorney in 2019. He ran unopposed.

Mr. Flowers, who had no prior criminal record and has maintained his innocence throughout, is now 50. First arrested in January 1997, Mr. Flowers was granted bail in December 2019.