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A judge tossed the conviction of a black 14-year-old boy who was executed 70 years ago

South Carolina Department of Archives and History/Handout
  1. A judge has vacated the murder conviction of George Stinney, Jr., a black South Carolina teen who was executed 70 years ago, Reuters reports.
  2. Stinney was convicted of beating two young white girls to death with a railroad spike in 1944, when he was 14.
  3. He's often cited as the youngest person executed in the U.S. in the 20th century. He was only 95 pounds at the time and had to sit on a phone book in the electric chair.

Long-delayed justice

Stinney confessed to the 1944 murder, and the all-white jury took only ten minutes to find him guilty. But civil rights activists have argued for years that his confession was coerced, and in 2009, his sister wrote an affidavit providing an alibi for him.

Based on these facts, his family petitioned for a new trial. Because there was no trial transcript and no surviving physical evidence, South Carolina Circuit Court judge Carmen Mullen ruled to simply overturn the conviction.

Further reading

How subconscious racism complicates racial disparities in policing

It's not just Ferguson: America's criminal justice system is racist

The terrifying racial stereotypes laced through Darren Wilson's testimony

Telling white people the criminal justice system is racist makes them like it more

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