Sotomayor Condemns Prosecutor’s Racially Charged Question

The prosecutor said, "You've got African Americans, you've got Hispanics, you've got a bag full of money. Doesn't that tell you -- a lightbulb doesn't go off in your head and say, 'This is a drug deal'?"

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News)

Reuters is reporting that U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor on Monday condemned racially charged language used by a federal prosecutor in Texas.

Appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009, Sotomayor took the unusual step of writing a statement to accompany the nine-member Supreme Court’s rejection of the criminal case, saying, “I hope never to see a case like this again.”

Sotomayor took issue with the unidentified prosecutor who, while questioning an African-American defendant in a drug case, asked: “You’ve got African-Americans, you’ve got Hispanics, you’ve got a bag full of money. Does that tell you — a light bulb doesn’t go off in your head and say, this is a drug deal?”

The first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, Sotomayor wrote that the prosecutor had “tapped a deep and sorry vein of racial prejudice that has run through the history of criminal justice in our nation.”

The question was “pernicious in its attempt to substitute racial stereotype for evidence,” she added. Sotomayor also accused the Obama administration of playing down the issue.

The defendant in the case, Bongani Charles Calhoun, wanted the Supreme Court to order a retrial because he said his right to a fair trial was violated when the question was asked. He was convicted of three offenses over his role in a drug conspiracy.

Read more at the Huffington Post.