Black Man’s Conviction Reversed in Nevada Due to ‘Racial Stereotypes’

In Summary

Sean Maurice Dean's conviction in Nevada was reversed after a three-judge panel concluded his trial was contaminated by racial stereotypes. 

Sean Maurice Dean, 55, was sentenced to 12-31 years in prison in 2019 in a stabbing case that has since been overturned by the Nevada Supreme Court on the grounds his jury was influenced by “harmful racial stereotypes,” per The Associated Press

Dean, a Black man, was convicted of several violent felonies, including attempted murder and battery with a deadly weapon, for stabbing divorced couple Bert “Duff” Minter and Denise Minter during a fight. 

RELATED: Kevin Strickland Exonerated After Spending 43 Years in Missouri Prison 

According to a panel of three judges, defense attorney Gary Woodbury’s questioning of prospective jurors about their racial attitudes was “flawed and inappropriate” and “fell below an objective standard of reasonableness.” 

Woodbury, who has practiced law for 45 years in Nevada, is white. He disclosed during the post-conviction evidentiary hearing that he asked prospective jurors, which included zero African Americans, a series of questions aimed at exposing unconscious racial biases. 

“Counsel insisted that the prospective jurors must have heard that all African Americans ‘like watermelon’ or ‘have an attribute of violence, that they are sneaky,’” the justices said, per AP. “Whether counsel himself believed any of the offensive stereotypes is immaterial because bringing such racial invective into the courtroom cannot be justified.” 

Elko County District Court Judge Alvin Kacin was also chastised by the Supreme Court for failing to urge Woodbury to modify his course of questioning. 

RELATED: Court Reverses Conviction and Death Sentence of Jesse Johnson 

The ruling could result in a new trial for dean, who is currently housed at the Northern Nevada Correctional Center.

Latest in Social Justice

George Floyd

Social Justice

Corporate America Failed to Deliver Two Years After George Floyd’s Death

Social Justice

NJ Supreme Court Tosses Robbery Convictions, Cites Bias in Police Stop 

Pennsylvania, Fanta Bility

Social Justice

3 Pennsylvania Officers Fired for Death of 8-Year-Old Fanta Bility

Team Roc Nation Lawyer

Social Justice

Jay-Z’s Team ROC Lawyer: Kansas City PD Has Harmed Its Community

Jason Walker Bodycam Footage

Social Justice

‘Justice for Jason Walker’ Protestors Rally at NC Commissioners Meeting

MLK Day x Prince Harry, Meghan

Social Justice

Prince Harry, Meghan Donated Black-Owned Food Trucks to Honor MLK Day