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The Louisiana Supreme Court is expected to hear a novel argument Monday in the long-standing debate over the legacy of the Confederate flag: Is it so prejudicial that its presence at the courthouse justifies overturning a murder conviction?
The case involves an attempt to overturn a 2009 death sentence against a black defendant on grounds that flying the flag outside a state courthouse was prejudicial to his case.
Felton Dorsey, an African American was sentenced to death in Shreveport, La., for killing Joe Prock, a white firefighter, during a robbery of the home of Mr. Prock's mother.
Mr. Dorsey claims he is innocent and seeks to overturn the conviction on numerous grounds, including that prosecutors used unreliable accomplice testimony. But race is a central part of the appeal. Mr. Dorsey contends that prosecutors improperly removed most of the prospective black jurors from the case, resulting in a jury of 11 whites and one African American.
He claims to have suffered additional discrimination due to the Confederate flag that has flown outside the Caddo Parish courthouse in Shreveport since 1951.
"The quintessential symbol of white supremacy looms over the courthouse," he said in his appellate brief.
But it is rare, if not unprecedented, to claim that the flag justifies overturning a death sentence, they say, because it is difficult to find case-specific evidence that the flag had a discriminatory impact on a conviction.
The American Civil Liberties Union, the NAACP's Shreveport Chapter, and a group of university professors filed a court brief supporting Mr. Dorsey's claim that the Confederate flag prejudiced his case and violated his due-process rights.
"This case will give the Louisiana Supreme Court an opportunity to send a message that a Confederate flag on courthouse grounds is intolerable," said ACLU attorney Anna Arceneaux.
Originally posted by Southern Guardian
I highly doubt the confederate flag would influence the courts judgement.edit on 13-5-2011 by Southern Guardian because: (no reason given)
Originally posted by Rockpuck
reply to post by HarmonicNights
A Liberal would let a murderer walk free because of the flags presence .. soo.. I think he's got a shot.