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Should convicted murderer get new trial because of racist juror?

Posted at 6:53 PM, Nov 02, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-02 21:48:14-04

He is a convicted murderer, but his attorney says his conviction should be overturned. 

The reason? There is new evidence one of his jurors was racist.

“It has potential, as far as these cases go, to go to The Supreme Court,” said Wade Fink, Defense Attorney.

Fink says his case asks the question: Will we allow racism to invade our judicial system?

Taking a look at the case, Fink represents 25-year-old Terry Wilson.  

A jury sentenced Wilson to life in prison without parole in for shooting and killing 24-year-old William Clark at Prince Dreary Park in Clinton Township in 2013.  

Wilson claimed it was self-defense, but the prosecution said it was not.

After he went to prison, Fink says jurors reported that one man on the jury at times used the N-word and made comments such as, “one less black guy we will have on the street” and “this is just the way they all are.”

“Indicating that he holds these severe racial prejudices against black people. And that is 2018 in America. This man had a racist white juror making a decision on a murder trial that condemned Mr. Wilson to life in prison,” said Fink.

Prosecutors argued in court documents that Fink has provided no evidence that this racist juror impacted the guilty verdict. 

After all, there were twelve jurors.  Even those who exposed the racist comments agreed on the verdict.  

Fink says he will argue in court that for the sake of the judicial system, we can’t have even one racist juror.

“We still have convictions being delivered based on racial bias,” said Fink.

Fink points to a Supreme Court ruling in 2016 that required state courts give new trials to defendants if there is evidence of racial bias in a jury verdict.  

The question is whether judges will allow the ruling to retroactively impact cases.