The Indiana Supreme Court has thrown out a suspect’s murder confession after ruling that a detective violated his Constitutional rights when he told the suspect he wouldn’t get a fair trial because he’s black.
McLynnerd Bond Jr., 27, confessed to the 2007 murder of 28-year-old Kadmiel Mahone in Gary, Indiana, after being interrogated by police.
For the first two hours of his interrogation, Bond repeatedly denied killing Mahone, according to the Indiana Supreme Court decision.
Then the detective resorted to implying to Bond that he wouldn’t get a fair trial because nobody from his “neck of the woods” would be on the jury. He said:
“[D]on’t let 12 people who are from Schererville, Crown Point — white people, Hispanic people, other people that aren’t from Gary, from your part of the hood — judge you. Because they’re not gonna put people on there who are from your neck of the woods. You know that. They’re not gonna be the ones to decide what happens to you. You know that. I know that. Everybody knows that. All they’re gonna see is, oh, look at this, another young motherf—– who didn’t give a f—.”
An hour later, Bond confessed to shooting Mahone.
The state’s Supreme Court ruled:
Over the course of several hours the detective here employed a number of interrogation techniques to convince the suspect to admit his guilt. Most of these techniques were acceptable. But when he implied that the suspect’s race precluded him from receiving a fair trial and an impartial jury, he went too far.
The decision further states:
Despite nearly two hundred years of effort by civil rights activists, legislatures, law enforcement, courts, and others, the perception remains that racial discrimination still exists within our justice system: from police treatment to jury selection to jury verdicts and sentences. And the perception is especially common within the African-American community. It defines reality for many African Americans faced with, serving in, or incarcerated by our criminal courts, and unquestionably has roots in our nation’s tortured history of race relations. That there remains such fear or mistrust of the justice system is why all courts must remain vigilant to eradicate any last vestiges of the days in which a person’s skin colour defined their access to justice.
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