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Brian J. Kinder

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This Information was provided by the supporters of Brian Kinder

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On February 11, 1991, Brain J. Kinder, an African-American man, was officialy charged with murdering and raping and African-American woman. The crime occured in Jefferson County, a partially incorporated area near St. Louis which has less than a one-percent African American population.

On March 31, 1992, the trial judge, Honorable Earl R. Blackwell, a life long prominent Democrat, issued a press release explaining why he was switching his party affilitation to the Republican party for the 1992 elections. Judge Blackwell had been appointed as an associate circuit judge by then Republican governor and now United States Senator, John Ashcroft, to fill an existing judicial vacancy. Judge Blackwell's press release reads as follows:

For release 5:00 PM, March 31st: When asked why he had filed on the Republican ticket Blackwell, who served 16 years (1958-1974) in the Missouri Senate as a Democrat, said,"Republican? Democrat? Who gives a damn? I once heard a man say, 'Only politicians profit from politics, the poeple gain nothing,' That man was Earl Blackwell, and I believe he was right. Anyway, good judges cannot be politicians. Why did I file as a Republican? Especially in a Democrat stronghold such as Jefferson County? Some may say its because I like to live dangerously. But thats not the case." Blackwell said. "The truth is that I have noticed in recent years that the Democrat party places too much emphasis on representing minorities such as homosexuals, people who don't want to work, and people with skin thats any color but white. Their reverse discriminatory quotas and affirmative action, in the work place as well as in schools and colleges, are repugnant to me," Blackwell Said, "I Believe that a person should be advanced and promoted, in this life, on the basis of initiative, qualifications, and willingness to work, not simply on the color of his skin, or sexual preference. While minorities need to be represented, of course, I believe the time has come for us to place much more emphasis and concern on the hardworking taxpayers in this country." Blackwell said " That majority group of our citizens seems to have been virtually forgotten by the Democrat party." Blackwell concluded "In feeling as I do, I am certainly not alone in Jefferson County. Many, many people, formerly Democrats, have told me that they will no longer vote as Democrats. They say they have had enough. And I have too."

Click here to read Judge Ronnie White's dissenting opinion in referrence to Brian Kinder's case. Citing Judge Blackwell's press release.

Trial began one week after Judge Blackwell's press release on April 6, 1992. Defense counsel moved to disqualify Judge Blackwell on the grounds his press release was racially discriminatory, but he denied that motion without any evidence being presented on it. During jury selection, Judge Blackwell conducted voir dire with venireperson Kramper outside the presence of both parties attorneys. Mr Kramper was dismissed as a potential juror with Judge Blackwell refusing to discuss with both sides the details of why he was released.

For the Rule 29.15 (post conviction) action Judge Blackwell's deposition was taken. At his deposition, and during the Rule 29.15 evidentiary hearing, Judge Blackwell testified that Kramper had said that he belonged to a white supremecy organization and that was why he was discharged. Mr Kramper testified at the Rule 29.15 hearing that he had requested to speak to Judge Blackwell privately cause he thought he may have purchased some insurance from a company that discriminated on the basis of race while being unaware that it engaged in such practise. Mr Kramper indicated that he has never been affiliated with a white supremacy organisation and later found out that he was mistaken about the insurance company. Further, Mr Kramper related that he was especially concerned about the fairness of the proceedings for Brian Kinder because when he had looked around the courtroom he didn't see any African-Americans summoned as potential jurors. Mr. Kramper expressed views and beliefs that indicated he is especially concerned about and sensitive to issues of racial fairness. Another such incident occured when Mr. Robert Russell, (an African-American) listed as a juror for the trial received a phone call from someone identifying himself as associated with the court directing him not to attend the trial. Mr Russell also stated that two unknown sherrif deputies came to his place of employment and again instructed him not to appear at the trial.

Further, evidence was presented that when Judge Blackwell was a State Senator, he had sponsored and anti bussing resolution intended to amend the Constitution so as to prohibit bussing for desegregation. There was evidence that the White Citizens Council, a white supremecy group, was active in supporting the resolution and that Judge Blackwell was aware of its support. Additional evidence was presented that Sentaor/Judge Blackwell was absent during votes on key legislation aimed at ending racial discrimination.

The State's case against Brian Kinder was based on circumstantial evidence. The primary evidence was DNA evidence and trial counsel argued to the trial court, and testified at the Rule 29.15 hearing, that the State's expert had altered one of the autorads. Eventually, the State conceded to errors in the DNA testing procedures.

Brian Kinder has maintained that he did not kill the victim. Brian Kinder denied involvement during his continued interrogation and even passed a State administered polygraph given by the officers who tried to beat a confession out of him. The State's evidence against Brian Kinder included that he refused to swear on the bible as to his innocence without crossing his legs while being interrogated.

Brian Kinder was subsequently sentenced to death by an all white jury.

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