Ketanji Brown Jackson Sides With Death Row Inmate In First SCOTUS Opinion

Ketanji Brown Jackson issued her first Supreme Court opinion since taking office over the summer, siding with an Ohio death row inmate's claim.

On Monday (November 7), Justice Jackson joined fellow liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor in dissent to the Supreme Court's decision to reject the appeal of Davel Chinn, who was convicted of a 1989 murder in Dayton during a robbery, NBC News reports.

Chinn's lawyers allege that prosecutors hid that key witness Marvin Washington, who identified Chinn as the gunman, was "severely mentally disabled" with an IQ of 48.

Jackson wrote in her first Supreme Court opinion that there was "no dispute" that state prosecutors withheld evidence that would have questioned Washington's credibility as a witness. Under Brady v. Maryland, a 1963 Supreme Court ruling, the withholding of evidence can constitute a due process violation.

In the dissent, Jackson took issue with a ruling in the state's favor made by the Cincinnati-based 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in February, which she said failed to analyze whether the evidence about Washington impacted the outcome of the trial.

“Because Chinn’s life is on the line, and given the substantial likelihood that the suppressed records would have changed the court at trial … I would summarily reverse,” Jackson wrote.

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