Support NFN

A divided federal appeals court on Friday ruled that Mississippi cannot strip the right to vote from thousands of convicts after they complete their sentences, calling that a “cruel and unusual punishment” that disproportionately affected Black people.

A 2-1 panel of the New Orleans-based 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals faulted a provision of Mississippi’s state constitution that mandates lifetime disenfranchisement for people convicted of a set of crimes including murder, rape and theft.

Siding with a group of convicts who sued in 2018 to regain their right to vote, U.S. Circuit Judge James Dennis wrote that the state’s policy violated the U.S. Constitution’s Eighth Amendment, which bars cruel and unusual punishments.

He said the state’s constitutional provision, Section 241, served no legitimate purpose, ensures former offenders are never fully rehabilitated, and was adopted in 1890 after the U.S. Civil War to “ensure the political supremacy of the white race.”

Read Full Story
NBC News Rating

Share this:

Leave a Reply