“Nothing in the record suggests that the jurors harbored any racial prejudice or that they were actually influenced by the prosecutor’s recitation of ‘Dixie,’ but the risk of prejudice to a defendant is magnified where the case is as sensitive as this one, involving alleged sexual molestation of minors,” the judges wrote.
An Idaho appellate court struck down the conviction of a 45-year-old black man accused of sexually battering a white 13-year old girl because the prosecuting attorney used a line from the Confederate anthem “Dixie” in asking the jury not to “look away, look away, look away” from the evidence.
The three-judge panel unanimously agreed that Canyon County Deputy Prosecutor Erica Kallin’s recitation of the lyrics during her rebuttal closing argument was “pernicious racism” that may have influenced the jury and therefore reversible error, according t The Daily Mail, which reported:
Kallin began quoting ‘Dixie’ lyrics as a response to the defense’s closing arguments that focused on the perceived weaknesses in the state’s case, including the failure to gather physical evidence to help prove the girls’ testimony.
“I always think of this one song. Some people know it. It’s the Dixie song. Right? ‘Oh I wish I was in the land of cotton. Good times not forgotten. Look away. Look away. Look away,’” Kallin said during the state’s closing arguments.
“And isn’t that really what you’ve kind of been asked to do? Look away from the two eyewitnesses. Look away from the two victims. Look away from the nurse and her medical opinion. Look away. Look away. Look away.”