Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson issued her first opinion as a Supreme Court judge Monday, dissenting the court's refusal to hear an appeal from a death-row inmate.
Jackson stated her view in a two-page dissent that fellow liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor supported.
The argument was over whether inmate Davel Chinn's case should have returned to a lower appeals court. Jackson said a lower court applied the incorrect legal standard when considering the extent of improperly withheld evidence that could have potentially helped Chinn at his trial.
"Because Chinn's life is on the line and given the substantial likelihood that the suppressed records would have changed the outcome at trial based on the Ohio court's own representations … I would summarily reverse to ensure that the Sixth Circuit conducts its materiality analysis under the proper standard," wrote Jackson.
Chinn was convicted and sentenced to death for an aggravated murder committed in 1989. He maintains prosecutors failed to inform him that their key witness had an intellectual disability, which he believes undermined jury confidence in the witnesses' testimony.
Jackson is the nation's first Black woman to serve in the Supreme Court. She was sworn in as its newest member in June.
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