Update: PJI filed this Complaint on January 30, 2015. As of June 24, 2015 – 145 days later – we have not received a response.
On January 30, 2015, the Promise of Justice Initiative submitted a Complaint to the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, regarding discriminatory actions of the Caddo Parish prosecutorial and judicial authorities in their treatment of Lamondre Tucker, a young African-American capital defendant in Shreveport, as well as the corollary treatment of prospective African-American jurors in Caddo Parish.
The Complaint focuses on the display of the Confederate flag on courthouse grounds between Mr. Tucker’s indictment in 2008 until his capital sentencing in 2011. Mr. Tucker was the last of 22 African-American men sentenced to death in Caddo Parish while the flag flew on the courthouse lawn. This display, the Complaint urges, suffused the proceedings with an atmosphere of at least the legacy of white supremacy, if not the continued assertion of white supremacy – affecting both Mr. Tucker himself and the ability of African-American members of the community to serve as jurors in a capital trial. Mr. Tucker’s counsel repeatedly objected to the flag’s influence, stating that it “can only serve to interpose racial considerations – to both intimidate African-American jurors and to prime white jurors to impose the death penalty – in this case. The Flag’s placement outside the Courthouse serves to remind African-American jurors of a regime in which lynchings and enslavement of African Americans was permitted under law.”
Read the complaint here to learn more, including how jurors felt about the flag and what social science research can tell us about its influence.