Thursday, December 11, 2003
Reverse discrimination in refusing to plea bargain
In Orbe v. True, the Fourth Circuit in a per curiam opinion for the panel of Judges Williams and Traxler and Senior Judge Hamilton affirmed the denial of a petition for habeas corpus in a death penalty case out of Virginia. One of the issues raised was the prosecutor's use of race - the claim was that the prosecutor discriminated against the petitioner in plea bargaining because the petitioner was white. Specifically, the petitioner's trial counsel testified that the prosecutor "told [him] that she could not agree to give a white man (Mr. Orbe) a life sentence when she had just asked for and obtained a death sentence for a black man (Daryl Atkins) in an unrelated capital murder."