The Supreme Court will not enter into the case because the prosecutor testifies at trial


The Supreme Court on Monday declined to accept an appeal by a Louisiana man who says he was denied his right to a fair trial when prosecutors presented the case to a grand jury.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor, along with Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, agreed with the court’s decision not to take up the case.

Jackson and Sotomayor also voted together Monday on an inmate appeal. In his first opinion as a Supreme Court justice, Jackson dissented when the court refused to take the case of a death row inmate who wanted to challenge the suppression of evidence in Ohio. In that case, Sotomayor joined Jackson’s dissent in the court’s denial of certiorari.

In the Louisiana case, the state appeals court ruled that defendant Willard Anthony, who received a life sentence, was entitled to a new trial.

But when the case finally went back to court, before another jury, Anthony lost. The court found that the evidence presented at trial supported Anthony’s conviction even without the testimony of prosecutor Thomas Block.

Anthony’s lawyers told the Supreme Court in court documents that the prosecution’s testimony was “contrary to the presumption of innocence and a fair trial” and that calling Block “broke the rules.”

Sotomayor echoed those arguments in her dissent.

“The prosecutorial misconduct in this case is not only egregious and egregious, it is a clear violation of due process,” he wrote. He said he would summarily reverse the lower court’s opinion. “Our criminal system holds prosecutors to a high standard,” he said, adding that the case presents “one of the most serious cases of prosecutorial misconduct.”

Paul D. Connick Jr. the district attorney told jurors that the Block trial prosecutors had Anthony’s attorneys offer a state witness a plea bargain.

Anthony was convicted in 2015 of aggravated rape, as well as human trafficking and other charges. During Block’s testimony, Anthony’s attorney objected 16 times. Blocks said he was misrepresenting the issue of guilt and the guilt of the witnesses.