In California, a death-row inmate had his conviction for a horrific double murder in the late 1980s overturned. The surprising reason for the reversal wasn’t new-found evidence or poor legal counsel – it’s due to the fact that none of the jurors in the original trial were African-American.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Sam Crittenden will receive a retrial after his lawyers successfully argued before a Sacramento judge that the prosecutor who tried the case demonstrated racial bias when he dismissed the lone prospective black juror from the jury pool.
Jack Cashill, who has written about the similarly racially charged George Zimmerman trial in his new book “If I Had a Son: Race, Guns, and the Railroading of George Zimmerman,” believes Crittenden’s case demonstrates a growing 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 commented to WND.
The district attorney’s office that will be tasked with retrying Crittenden called the judge’s decision “insane,” and Cashill agreed with the assessment, because the criteria for being a juror should be based on the ability to adequately fulfill that role, not on skin color.
“Federal judges now want to cast juries as though they were Coca-Cola commercials. I have to agree with the DA. This is ‘insane,'” Cashill said.
The crime for which Crittenden was convicted shocked the small town of Chico, Calif., in 1987. A prominent elderly couple were viciously beaten before being stabbed to death by their assailant. The original prosecution team termed what the couple went through before their deaths as “torture.”
Crittenden had been hired by the couple to do yard work, but he never showed up to do the work he had been paid to do. Also, the materials used to bind the victims matched sheets owned by Crittenden. He was convicted and sentenced to death in 1989.
His lawyer blames racial bias as the sole reason Crittenden is receiving a retrial.
“If race hadn’t played a role, we wouldn’t be retrying this,” said Mark Goldrosen, Crittenden’s attorney.
The prospective black juror was dismissed because she voiced strong opposition to the death penalty, and the case was seen as a death penalty case. The prosecution team determined that she was too biased to serve on a jury that would hear a case that had the strong likelihood of resulting in a death sentence.
In “If I Had A Son,” Cashill tells the inside story of how, as the result of a tragic encounter with troubled 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, the media turned Zimmerman into a white racist vigilante, “the most hated man in America.”
See Cashill’s comments on his investigation of the Martin case: