A jury sentenced a gay prisoner to death because «men’s prison for him, not a punishment»

Monday, April 15, the U.S. Supreme court refused to hear the case of Charles Raines a prisoner on death row in South Dakota, who argued that discrimination against homosexuals has become crucial in the trial of his case.

When Charles Raines, gay, was convicted of murder in January 1993, the jury had to decide, to determine his sentence of life imprisonment without parole, or be sentenced to death.

During the discussion, some jurors wondered whether life in a male prison is generally the penalty for gay. In the end, the jury sentenced Raines to death.

A jury sentenced a gay prisoner to death because «men’s prison for him, not a punishment»Photo: South Dakota DOC

Lawyers for Raines petitioned the U.S. Supreme court, asking the judges to review his case.

«Just as the Constitution does not allow, that a man was sentenced to death on the basis of race, it is impossible to sentence to death because of sexual orientation,» the petition reads.

In 1992, Raines broke into a doughnut shop in rapid city (South Dakota), where it had previously dismissed, to steal money.

A robbery turned murder when it is «caught» by a former colleague, Donovan Schaeffer, who was delayed at work late. Raines three times hit the man with a knife, he died on the spot.

At trial, 1993, the jury sent the judge a note. It was said that they should understand that really means «life in prison without right to parole», also they needed to know what would seem to stay in jail for a gay man. The jury wondered whether the Raines cellmate whether he is allowed visits.

«It is clear that the jury was biased», — said the publication Mother Jones Shawn Nolan, one of the lawyers of Raines.

In an interview with 2016 one of the jurors, Francis Cersosimo, said that another juror (his name is not called) said: «If he is gay, sending him to the men’s prison, it turns out that we put him in the place he wanted to go».

Authorities in South Dakota earlier, in 2018, said that the case does not deserve consideration in the Supreme court: «Discrimination against sexual orientation is not comparable to racism. No politician ever proposed to build a wall to keep out homosexuals in the country. No the civil war was not fought over sexual orientation».