Six trials, one alleged crime, one defendant. Each of the trials was either successfully challenged for prosecutorial misconduct or resulted in a hung jury. Meanwhile the defendant, an African-American man named Curtis Flowers, has been on and off death row since 1997—and none of the four juries that have convicted him had more than one black juror.
Thirty-three years ago today, the Supreme Court ruled that intentionally striking people from a jury because of their race violates the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The decision, Batson v. Kentucky, purported to counter decades of Jim Crow-era systematized racism in the criminal justice system and has been interpreted to lay the foundation that a single peremptory strike (the striking of a juror for an unenumerated reason) could be challenged as discriminatory.