Calling it a “great and fundamental injustice,” a South Carolina judge on Wednesday vacated the 1944 murder conviction of 14-year-old George J. Stinney Jr., the youngest person executed in the United States in the last century. Judge Carmen T. Mullen of Circuit Court did not rule that the conviction of Mr. Stinney for the murder of two white girls in the town of Alcolu was wrong on the merits.
She did find, however, that the prosecution had failed in numerous ways to safeguard the constitutional rights of Mr. Stinney, who was black, from the time he was taken into custody until his death by electrocution. The all-white jury could not be considered a jury of the teenager’s peers, Judge Mullen ruled, and his court-appointed attorney did “little to nothing” to defend him.
His confession was most likely coerced and unreliable, she added, “due to the power differential between his position as a 14-year-old black male apprehended and questioned by white, uniformed law enforcement in a small, segregated mill town in South Carolina.””* The Young Turks hosts Cenk Uygur breaks it down.