Alumni Short

Flowers v. Mississippi: Race, Racism and Jury Selection

Thursday, August 13, 2020
Sheri Lynn Johnson, James & Mark Flanagan Professor of Law
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Law School Alumni Affairs

You are cordially invited to a Cornell Law School digital presentation.
"Flowers v. Mississippi: Race, Racism and Jury Selection" 
Introductory Remarks by:

Natalya G. Johnson, JD '10

Associate, Riker Danzig Scherer Hyland Perretti LLP


Lori Lewis, JD '10

Assistant Attorney General, Office of the New York State Attorney General


Sheri Lynn Johnson

James and Mark Flanagan Professor of Law
Curtis Flowers was tried six times for the same offense in Mississippi. Prosecutor Doug Evans struck all ten African Americans who came up for consideration during the first two trials, and he used all twenty-six of his allotted strikes against African Americans at the third and fourth trials, and there is no record of the strikes at the fifth trial, in which the jury hung. Along the way, Evans was twice adjudicated to have violated Batson v. Kentucky - once by the trial judge during the second trial, and once by the Mississippi Supreme Court after the third trial. At the sixth trial Evans accepted the first qualified African American, then struck the remaining five. When Flowers challenged those strikes on appeal, the Mississippi Supreme Court deferentially reviewed Evans' proffered explanations for without taking into account his record of discrimination, and affirmed. Certiorari was granted on the following question: Whether a prosecutor's history of adjudicated purposeful race discrimination may be dismissed as irrelevant when assessing the credibility of his proffered explanations for peremptory strikes against minority prospective jurors?
Join Professor Sheri Lynn Johnson, who argued Flowers in the Supreme Court, who will discuss litigating the case.
The Oral Argument may be found at:
Thursday, August 13, 2020

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM EDT
Please register ON-LINE by Tuesday, August 11. Should you have any questions, please email
You will recieve the login instructions via Zoom when you register.