Health Care

Supreme Court sends death-row case back to lower courts

Supreme Court sends death-row case back to lower courts

Keith Tharpe has been sentenced to death in Georgia for the rape and murder of his sister-in-law, but the court ordered a new look at his request for an appeal of that 1991 death sentence, reports USA Today. Gattie freely used racial slurs and said his study of the Bible had led him to question "if black people even have souls", according to court filings.

But, the court continued, the affidavit (which the court described as "remarkable") nonetheless "presents a strong factual basis for the argument that Tharpe's race affected" the juror's vote for the death penalty.

Moody, who at 82 is the oldest inmate on Alabama Death Row, was seeking to appeal an US 11th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in March 2017.

Justice Clarence Thomas wasn't in favor of the ruling and stated despite the language used by Gattie, who is now deceased, Tharpe will lose his appeal.

The high court's three-page January 8 opinion acknowledges that even though the state court's conclusion - that the juror's vote to impose the death penalty was not based on race was binding - the affidavit from the juror could not just be dismissed.

"We are thankful that the U.S. Supreme Court recognized the serious implications for fundamental fairness of the clear evidence of racial animus on the part of one of the jurors who sentenced Mr. Tharpe to death", Brian Kammer, Tharpe's attorney said in an emailed statement.

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The Supreme Court halted Tharpe's execution on September 26, after Tharpe had eaten what was to be his last meal and more than three hours after the scheduled time of his execution.

Study after study shows that juries are far more likely to convict a black person for murder and far more likely to give them the death penalty, but the Supreme Court has done nearly nothing to help fix that. He shot Freeman with a shotgun, rolled her body into a ditch, reloaded and fired again, killing her. Freeman's husband found her body in the ditch not long afterward.

In a sworn affidavit, Gattie said, "There are two types of black people: 1. But on the unusual facts of this case, the Court of Appeals' review should not have rested on the ground that it is indisputable among reasonable jurists that Gattie's service on the jury did not prejudice Tharpe", the majority writes.

It also noted Mr. Gattie later issued a second affidavit, and said his previous statements were out of context and carried out after he had been drinking. "The court's decision is no profile in moral courage", Thomas wrote.

In the 13-page dissenting opinion, Thomas accused his fellow justices of "bending the rules" to show "concern for racial justice" and said it further delayed justice for Freeman, "the black woman who was brutally murdered by Tharpe 27 years ago". "The attention to racial discrimination is long overdue because it has always been a factor in many criminal cases and particularly in death penalty cases", he said.


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