Related Cases

What's New

CCR Supports Community Resistance in Ferguson, Condemns Grand Jury Failure to Indict Police Officer in Michael Brown Killing

November 24, 2014, New York – Today, Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Executive Director Vincent…

CCR: End to Secure Communities Welcome

November 21, 2014, New York – In response to yesterday’s announcement that, as part of…

Related Resources

State of North Carolina v. Joan Little

Print Friendly and PDF

Synopsis

State of North Carolina v. Joan Little is a 1975 case for which the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) provided assistance to the defense. Joan Little was a prisoner who killed her white jailer after he tried to rape her. CCR documented overwhelming racial prejudice on the part of the jury in her case.

Description

This widely publicized case raised a variety of political and legal issues, including the question of whether or not a racially representative jury can be impaneled given discrimination against Blacks in selecting potential jurors from Beaufort County, North Carolina. In addition, because of the intense racism in eastern North Carolina, the area in which the State sought to try Ms. Little, the question of whether or not a fair and impartial jury could be found was seriously in doubt.

CCR was called upon to assist the defense in challenging the racial composition of the grand jury which indicted Joan Little and in preparing the defense motion for a change of venue to a less racially prejudicial area. Although the grand jury challenge was not successful, the venue motion was granted on the basis of documentation of overwhelming racial prejudice and presumption of guilt throughout the entire area of eastern North Carolina – a rare victory in a motion of this type.

Ultimately, Little was acquitted.