Seattle Supreme Court Overturns Case in Which Prosecutor Used Racist Remarks

Justices ruled against the deputy prosecutor and called his comments "repugnant."

Posted: 06/11/2011 10:51 AM EDT
Filed Under racism

James Konat

A Seattle man will be re-tried after the Seattle Supreme Court found the prosecutor in the case guilty of “prosecutorial misconduct.”

 

In an 8-1 ruling, the Supreme Court found that James Konat, a King County deputy prosecutor "made a blatant and inappropriate appeal to racial prejudice and undermined the credibility of African-American witnesses based on their race," in the 2007 conviction of Kevin L. Monday, Jr., according to the Seattle Times.

 

Monday was convicted of first-degree murder and first-degree assault, and sentenced to 64 years in prison for a 2006 gang-related shooting.  Seattle police claimed that he fired at least 10 shots at Francisco Roche Green. He was also accused of firing shots at a vehicle, consequently wounding the driver and a passenger.

 

In questioning the witnesses Konat made references to the “PO-leese,” and questioned about a street “code” which he claimed prevented them from talking to the police. In his closing argument to jurors Konat said, "the code is Black folk don't testify against Black folk. You don't snitch to the police."

 

The justices found that Konat used terms such as “PO-leese” to "subtly, and likely deliberately, call to the jury's attention that the witness was African-American."

 

Monday, who is 25-years-old appealed the conviction saying that Konat "made a blatant and inappropriate appeal to racial prejudice and undermined the credibility of African-American witnesses based on their race."

 

The appeal was upheld in the state Court of Appeals, but in a ruling on Thursday, the Seatlle Supreme Court citied the prosecutor’s comments as grounds for the conviction to be overturned.

 

A retrial has been set for Monday and a deputy prosecutor will try the case.

(Photo: Joshua Trujillo/Reuters)

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