After six trials and 23 years in prison, Curtis Flowers was finally set free in December 2019. He’s now suing a Mississippi district attorney alleging various instances of misconduct.
Represented by the Mississippi Center for Justice and the firm of Hogan Lovells, Flowers pointed to the prosecutor’s disregard for other alternative suspects. The Associated Press reported Flowers was prosecuted six times for killing four people at a furniture store.
Despite having no criminal record at the time the crimes were committed, officials continued to pursue him. According to the complaint, Flowers was a gospel singer at the time of the furniture shop killings.
The complaint also points to the failure of law enforcement to document interviews with several witnesses and at least one suspect. And several witnesses claim the prosecutor and investigators pressured them to shift parts of their testimony to making a guilty verdict stick against Flowers.
In a statement, the center explained four of Flowers’ trials were overturned, and two ended in hung juries. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned his conviction in the sixth trial in 2019 and found the district attorney had a “relentless, determined effort to rid the jury of black individuals” over the various trials.
“Curtis Flowers can never get back the twenty-three years of his life that he spent in prison when he should have been home with his family and friends,” said Kaitlyn Golden of Hogan Lovells in a statement. “The law allows innocent people to file lawsuits seeking to hold state officials accountable for misconduct leading to wrongful imprisonment. With this case, we hope to do just that and to seek some redress for Curtis Flowers for the horrors he endured over more than two decades behind bars.”
The Montgomery County district attorney attempted to prosecute Flowers a seventh time, but after motions filed by the defense, he finally recused himself. And a review of the evidence by the attorney general’s staff, charges against Flowers were finally dismissed with prejudice.
The Associated Press reported that a judge ordered the state to pay Flowers $500,000 for his wrongful conviction. It does not prevent him from suing the prosecutor and investigators.
“Doug Evans has faced virtually no consequences for his crusade to convict this innocent man and for his discriminatory manipulation of the legal system,” said Vangela M. Wade, president and CEO of the Mississippi Center for Justice. “We are pursuing this lawsuit to bring some level of accountability.”