EJI Wins New Trial for Alabama Death Row Prisoner Lamar Killingsworth

On December 30, 2010, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed Lamar Killingsworth’s conviction and death sentence, ruling that his right to an impartial jury was violated because a biased juror was allowed to serve on the jury that convicted him.

Before Mr. Killingsworth’s trial, a juror told the court that she knew family members of the victim in the case and that she could not be fair. She told the court that she was a teacher with the victim’s mother and father, and that the victim’s brother was her veterinarian. In response to questions, she said that she could not put aside her relationships with the victim’s family and listen to the evidence fairly, and that she would be biased. Nevertheless, she was allowed to serve as a juror at Mr. Killingsworth’s capital trial.

EJI lawyers argued at the Alabama Supreme Court that Mr. Killingsworth’s trial was unfair for many reasons, including that the fact that a biased juror was on the jury that convicted him.

The Alabama Supreme Court agreed and held that the Mr. Killingswowth’s right to an impartial jury was violated and that under Alabama law he is entitled to a new trial.