A convicted murderer in a pair of horrific crimes form the 1980s has now been granted the righto a new trial for the reason that none of his jurors were African-American.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported how Steven Crittenden has been sitting on the state’s death row at San Quentin for murdering a couple in Chico in 1987.
A federal judge in Sacramento has paved the way for Crittenden to be freed not on the basis of new evidence, but because a black woman was not permitted to be a juror during the trial.
Crittenden’s attorneys successfully argued that the sole reason the individual was dismissed was because she is black. However, prosecutors said the reason for dismissing the woman had nothing to do with race, but was simply because it was a death penalty case and the prospective juror indicated she was opposed to the death penalty.
The murdered couple was white and lived in a predominantly white town. San Francisco attorney Mark Goldrosen told the Chronicle that dismissing the lone black juror was “outrageous.”
The judge agreed and ordered Crittenden to be either retried or released.
The Butte County District Attorney’s office, which is tasked with deciding whether to retry the case or not called the judge’s ruling “insane.”
Jack Cashill, who has written about another racially charged trial, the George Zimmerman trial in his new book, “If I had a son, Race, Guns, and the Railroading of George Zimmerman,” told WND that the judge’s decision in the Crittenden case reveals a disturbing trend of demand for two separate systems of justice in America.
“As the Crittenden case suggests, we may be moving towards two separate systems of justice at the federal level, one for African-Americans and one for everyone else,” Cashill said. “Federal judges now want to cast juries as though they were Coca-Cola commercials. I have to agree with the DA. This is ‘insane,’”
The crime was particularly heinous because it involved the murder of an elderly couple who were viciously beaten before they were stabbed to death by their murderer. The original prosecution team described what occurred to the couple as “torture.”
The city is home to Cal State Chico which has 15,000 students of which fewer than 2 percent are black while 55 percent are white. Chico’s population of 88,000 is currently 81 percent white, 15 percent Hispanic and 2 percent black.