The decision followed the long, unfortunate history of prosecutors seating all-white juries in cases with black defendants. Specifically in the third case the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that he had discriminated against black jurors.
It is often hard to prove a Batson violation, however - though lawyers can bring a "Batson challenge" if they believe the other side is striking jurors for racial reasons, the other side will prevail if they can give a valid, race-neutral reason for excluding the jurors at issue.
Some prosecutors, including in southern states like MS, have been accused over the decades of trying to ensure predominately white juries for trials of black defendants. Evans, the district attorney, struck five black prospective jurors.
The question before the justices asks whether a judge can consider past practices and misconduct when deciding if a prosecutor is removing prospective jurors on the basis of race.
His lawyers have said no physical or forensic evidence links Flowers to the crime.
Alito, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and others seemed to be searching for a rule that would guide courts about how far in the past they should go to judge whether a prosecutor's stated reasons for striking a juror are just.
"Can you say that you have confidence in how this all transpired in this case?" One of the six was seated, and Evans cited legitimate reasons for excluding the other five.
"Would you kindly tell us whether you exercised any peremptories?" Justice Elena Kagan noted that Evans pursued three such investigations in the Flowers case. Flowers' lawyer, Sheri Lynn Johnson, answered in the affirmative.
The Times noted that until Thomas' spoke up, the other justices "seemed united in their view that a white MS prosecutor had violated the Constitution in his determined efforts to exclude black jurors".
"If the prosecutor had one Batson violation in his 30-year career, 20 years ago, is that something that should be pertinent in the assessment of current Batson challenges?"
Justice Clarence Thomas, who had not posed a question during an oral argument in three years, asked several in the case involving Curtis Flowers, 48, who has argued that his constitutional right to a fair trial was violated. Justice Brett Kavanaugh asked. They can strike potential jurors they simply don't want on the jury, and generally those choices cannot be second-guessed.
As [Curtis Flower's] lawyer concluded her argument, Justice Clarence Thomas asked his first questions from the bench since 2016. Johnson conceded they had.
"But I would add that her motivation is not the question here", she said.
In a more recent decision, the court said judges should consider the "totality of the circumstances" when deciding whether a prosecutor was using the challenges as a pretext for barring jurors due to their race.
But Wednesday, the person in what became an unflattering spotlight was Evans, and the question for the court was whether it should ignore the past prosecutions and concentrate only on the 2010 trial. The defense struck white jurors, Johnson said.
The Flowers case marked the latest dispute to reach the justices over allegations of racial bias in an American criminal justice system in which blacks and other minorities are disproportionately represented in prison populations.