SCOTUS to review racial discrimination in jury selection


NPR: High court will address high rate of dismissal of potential black jurors.

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NPR: High court will address high rate of dismissal of potential black jurors.

It has been nearly 30 years since the Supreme Court sought to toughen the rules against racial discrimination in jury selection. But [Timothy] Foster’s lawyers argue that black jurors were systematically excluded from the jury at his trial in 1987, while judges at all levels looked the other way for nearly three decades thereafter.

Jury selection is done according to a set of rules. Prospective jurors are usually questioned by both prosecution and defense lawyers and then winnowed down in two different ways. First, the judge removes “for cause,” those jurors deemed incapable of being impartial. Next, each side, prosecution and defense, has a set number of peremptory strikes, meaning that a certain number of prospective jurors can be eliminated without a stated reason, or for no reason at all.

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