Curtis Flowers, a black man whose murder conviction was reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court due to racial discrimination by a prosecutor, was granted bail for the first time by a Mississippi judge on Monday. Judge Joseph Loper set the bond of $250,000 after a hearing in Winona, Mississippi. Flowers, 49, has been in prison for more than 22 years for a 1996 quadruple murder and spent much of his sentence on death row. Flowers’ case was featured in a podcast, In the Dark, which gave evidence of his innocence in the slayings of four people at the Tardy Furniture Store in Winona. The podcast also revealed that Doug Evans, a prosecutor in the case, repeatedly and purposefully kept black jurors from Flowers’ six trials, the last of which ended in his death sentence. Four of the trials ended in murder convictions and two ended in mistrials.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote the court’s 7-2 opinion that determined the “clear error” in Flowers’ trial court case, adding that the prosecutor had a “relentless, determined” effort to exclude black jurors from the trials with the intent to secure an “all-white” jury. The Supreme Court ruled that Evans had barred 41 out of 42 potential black jurors in total, including five out of six in the last trial.