Write For Us

Supreme Court won't hear case of death-row inmate who claimed jurors were homophobic


© Provided by NBCU News Group, a division of NBCUniversal Media LLC
Image: The Supreme Court building in WashingtonThe Supreme Court building in Washington on Oct. 11, 2017.

By Pete Williams, NBC News

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to take up the appeal of a South Dakota man who claimed that anti-gay juror bias put him on death row.

"Charles Rhines is a gay man, and the jurors at his capital trial knew it," his lawyers said in urging the court to take up the case. But prosecutors said it was the brutal nature of the crime that led the jury to impose a death sentence, not his sexual orientation.

During trial deliberations, jurors sent a note to the judge asking whether a life sentence would allow Rhines to mix with the general inmate population, brag about his crime to young inmates, or have a cellmate. Defense lawyers said jurors contacted years later said they knew Rhines was gay and some thought "he shouldn't be able to spend his life with men in prison."

Comments by jurors during deliberations are normally off limits, and state and federal rules prohibit judges from hauling jurors back into court to explain their verdicts. But in 2017 the Supreme Court said exceptions must be made in cases where there's evidence that racial bias affected the verdict.

"Blatant racial prejudice is antithetical to the functioning of the jury system and must be confronted in egregious cases," the court held, despite the general rule of jury secrecy.

Lawyers for Rhines said that same rule should apply in cases of anti-gay juror bias. They cited statements made by jurors in the case that a life sentence would be "sending him where he wants to go." Another was quoted as saying, "There was a lot of disgust. This is a farming community."

© Provided by NBCU News Group, a division of NBCUniversal Media LLC
Image: Charles RhinesSouth Dakota death row inmate Charles Rhines is shown in this 1990s photo, in Rapid City, South Dakota.

But prosecutors said those statements gathered by defense lawyers years after the trial were unreliable. The juror who said Rhines might be locked up with other men meant it as a joke but immediately admitted it was "stupid," the state's legal brief said.

The Supreme Court's 2017 ruling on racial bias in deliberations did not apply to claims of bias based on sexual orientation, the prosecutors argued.

The state also said the jury reached its verdict after learning the details of the 1992 murder. Rhines was burglarizing a donut shop when 22-year-old Donnivan Schaeffer, who worked there after hours, came in. Rhines stabbed him in the abdomen and back. As Schaeffer begged for his life, Rhines drove the knife into the base of his skull.

Sentenced to death in 1993, Rhines is now 61 and has waged a long legal battle. His current lawyers wanted the South Dakota courts to consider the possibility of anti-gay bias and to order a new sentencing hearing.


Note: If you think this story need more information or correction, feel free to comment below your opinion and reaction.
Like & Follow to Stay Updated ...


Alabama,1,Arizona,1,Barack,1,California,3,Colorado,1,Connecticut,1,Crime,531,Florida,1,Franc,1,Hawaii,8,Illinois,1,Los Angeles,2,Massachusetts,3,Mississippi,1,New York,130,U.S.,1558,Washington,4,
U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Supreme Court won't hear case of death-row inmate who claimed jurors were homophobic
Supreme Court won't hear case of death-row inmate who claimed jurors were homophobic
U.S. - U.S. Daily News
Loaded All Posts Not found any posts VIEW ALL Read More Reply Cancel reply Delete By Home PAGES POSTS View All RECOMMENDED FOR YOU LABEL ARCHIVE SEARCH ALL POSTS Not found any post match with your request Back Home Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat January February March April May June July August September October November December Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec just now 1 minute ago $$1$$ minutes ago 1 hour ago $$1$$ hours ago Yesterday $$1$$ days ago $$1$$ weeks ago more than 5 weeks ago Followers Follow THIS PREMIUM CONTENT IS LOCKED STEP 1: Share. STEP 2: Click the link you shared to unlock Copy All Code Select All Code All codes were copied to your clipboard Can not copy the codes / texts, please press [CTRL]+[C] (or CMD+C with Mac) to copy