The Supreme Court today voided a Louisiana death sentence, citing racial prejudice in the actions of a prosecutor who called the murder trial his “O.J. Simpson case” and kept blacks off the jury, reports the Associated Press.
Voting 7-2, the justices said prosecutor Jim Williams improperly excluded blacks from the jury that convicted Allen Snyder of killing his estranged wife’s companion. Snyder is black and the jurors were white. Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, said the trial judge should have blocked Williams from striking a black juror. The Louisiana Supreme Court upheld the conviction in 2006. Stephen Bright, Snyder’s Atlanta-based lawyer, said the ruling shows there is broad agreement among the justices that courts must closely examine the reasons given for excusing potential jurors when racial motives might be present but not acknowledged.