Opinions Relating to Orders - 2018

Tharpe v. Ford

The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied. Statement of JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR respecting the denial of certiorari. Petitioner Keith Tharpe is a Georgia inmate on death row. For years, Tharpe, who is black, has asked state and federal courts to consider his claim that a white member of the jury that sentenced him to death was biased against him because of his race. Tharpe has presented a signed affidavit from the juror in question, who stated, among other things, that “‘there are two types of black people: 1. Black folks and 2. Niggers,’” and that Tharpe, “‘who wasn’t in the “good” black folks category in [his] book, should get the electric chair for what he did.’” Tharpe v. Sellers, 583 U. S. , (2018) (per curiam) (slip op., at 2). Nevertheless, Tharpe has never received a hearing on the merits of his racial-bias claim. The petition that the Court denies today does not turn on the merits of that claim, and I concur in the denial of Tharpe’s petition. I write because I am p