Roosevelt Pitts III was sentenced to 18 years in prison after being convicted of one count of robbery, three counts of reckless endangerment, one count of leaving the scene of an accident, and one count of vandalism over $1,000 in Rutherford County. Pitts later filed an appeal in the court of criminal appeals of Tennessee suggesting the state discriminated against prospective jurors by excusing them for race based reasons.
On appeal, Pitts said that the state purposefully discriminated against prospective jurors during jury selection who were African American. Attorneys for Pitts brought up the 1986 Batson V. Kentucky case in which four black jury members were struck down leaving only white jury members. The case ended with Batson being convicted of second degree burglary and receipt of stolen goods in Kentucky. Courts later found that the prosecutor's actions violated the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution.
The Court of Criminal Appeals in Nashville refused to let the Pitts appeal go through, according to court filings on March 30, 2017. The appeals court said that the defendant failed to provide sufficient records for the court to consider the issues of race being raised. Therefore, the appeals court affirmed the judgement of the Rutherford County trial court.
Looking back to the original arrest of Pitts in 2014, he stole a truck that was in someone's driveway as the person went inside their Stones River Road home while their truck warmed up. When the owner of the truck exited his La Vergne home with his daughter, the owner tried to stop Pitts. A scuffle between the truck owner and Pitts was witnessed by the victim's daughter prior to taking her to elementary school. Pitts was arrested after crashing the truck nearby.
Pitts was living in La Vergne at a specialized group home after serving time for violating his probation on an original charge of attempted homicide.
As it now stands, 25 year old Pitts will remain in prison until year 2030. However, he will be eligible for parole in year 2018.
Criminal Appeals Case No. M2016-01879-CCA-R3-CD