Investigate Racial Bias on Death Row

Investigate Racial Bias in Court

Target: Washington State Governor Jay Inslee

Goal: Investigate potential racial bias in death row case

Because racial bias in the United States justice system seems impossible to eradicate, it can be tough to judge whether any particular individual truly suffered discrimination during a trial. Death row inmate Jonathan Lee Gentry recently claimed that his case was compromised due to racial bias, but the Supreme Court rejected his petition on the grounds that he had no evidence. This is not true and the Supreme Court knows it.

During his trial, Jonathan Lee Gentry, a black man, endured racial comments from both the prosecutor and a witness. His alleged victim was a white girl. Jonathan Lee Gentry’s claim is based, in part, on the fact that the testimony of the witness was compromised because of racial bias. It is also based on the fact that the prosecutor misbehaved by bringing race into the proceedings.

The Supreme Court rejected Gentry’s petition, stating that he did not have sufficient evidence, but in a decision made by the Supreme Court in 2011 for another case, they claimed that it was the responsibility of the state to prove that racial bias did not occur. By denying Jonathan Lee Gentry an investigation into his case, they are at risk of committing a serious human rights violation: Jonathan Lee Gentry, like all citizens of the United States, is guaranteed a fair trial under the Constitution.

Denying a death row inmate’s request means that Washington State could execute a man for a crime before getting the full story. When both the witness and the prosecutor are compromised, how is the verdict supposed to be accurate? Demand that Jonathan Lee Gentry receives a thorough investigation into his trial before it is too late.


Dear Washington State Governor Jay Inslee,

Jonathan Lee Gentry, a man currently on death row recently petitioned the Washington State Supreme Court. He claims that he experienced racial bias during his trial from both the prosecutor and a key witness. The Supreme Court denied his petition, stating that it was up to him to prove the racial bias. This is contrary to the decision they found in a 2011 case. In that case they found that it was actually the duty of the state to prove that racial bias did not occur.

This type of inconsistency in the Supreme Court is unacceptable. All American citizens are due a fair trial under the Constitution of our country. As Governor of Washington State, it is your duty to ensure that this happens. Jonathan Lee Gentry is not asking for much. All he wants is to be sure, before he is executed, that no racial bias occurred in his case. That does not seem like too much to ask for, especially for a man on death row.

If racial bias did occur in Jonathan Lee Gentry’s case, then an appropriate fix needs to be found. But before a fix can be decided upon, it is crucial to figure out the extent of any racial bias that occurred. It is up to you, as Governor, to do this.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: P199 via Wikimedia

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