Death and Dixie: How the Courthouse Confederate Flag Influences Capital Cases in Louisiana
The Justice Center's Capital Appeals Project
William Claude Collins III
Louisiana Capital Assistance Center (LCAC)
January 3, 2011
Harvard Journal on Racial & Ethnic Justice, Vol. 27, pp. 125-164, Spring 2011
This article explores the constitutional problems associated with flying the Confederate flag at a death penalty trial in the South. Specifically, the Confederate flag at Caddo Parish Courthouse, in Shreveport, Louisiana, plays a toxic role in the administration of the death penalty in Shreveport. Post-Furman, Caddo Parish juries have voted to impose the death penalty on sixteen men and one woman: all but four have been black, and the combination of black-defendant and white victim exponentially increases the likelihood of aggressive prosecution. The flag’s presence at this courthouse raises unique dangers. Beyond the equal protection issues generated by the mere government display of the flag on state property, the flag’s presence at a courthouse implicates the accused’s right to due process, and both the defendants’ and the prospective jurors’ rights to all of the privileges or immunities attendant to being a citizen of a state in the Union.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 43
Keywords: Confederate symbols, Confederate flag, Slavery, Constitutional Law, Reconstruction Era Amendments, Due Process, Equal Protection, Privileges or Immunities, Lynching, Shreveport, Caddo, Felton Dorsey
JEL Classification: D63,J7, J73, J71, J78, K1, K19, K30, K42Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: January 4, 2011 ; Last revised: August 27, 2011
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