Under the U.S. Constitution, if you had terrible lawyers during your trial, federal courts can step in with evidence to prove you didn’t do what you’ve been accused of.
But after this Supreme Court decision made on May 23, 2022? Not anymore.
In the 1994 murder case of a man named Barry Jones, Justice Clarence Thomas decided that federal courts CANNOT hear evidence that wasn’t presented in previous trials, even though his lawyers allegedly botched the case.
The new evidence would have likely saved Jones from execution!
Thomas’ position is that even if you didn’t do it, and your initial trial wasn’t fair, states should not have to consider “newly discovered evidence of innocence.” Once a trial is done, it’s done! This time, he had enough votes to set that position in stone.
And even though Jones is white, this ruling will hurt Black people the most.
Compared to white people, Black people are SEVEN times more likely to be convicted of murder despite not murdering anyone. Exonerated Black people spend 45% more time in prison before release. And over 50% of all cases convicting Black people of murder who didn’t do it involve police misconduct!
This ruling will disproportionately kill and incarcerate Black people – and the person behind it was Black himself! We cannot continue to have faith in a system that chooses oppression and violence over justice, time and time again.