Supreme Court To Take Up New Case On Racial Bias In Jury Selection


It turned out there were not any “B”s — the lawyers' shorthand for African Americans — on the jury in Rome, Ga., that in 1987 convicted teenager Foster of the brutal murder of an elderly white woman and sentenced him to death. Almost no one thinks the problem of racial bias in jury selection has been eliminated. Prosecutors and defense attorneys need only find a benign reason for dismissal: a failure to maintain eye contact and an age too close to the defendant's were among those accepted in the Georgia case. Studies and experience have concluded that only the most incompetent lawyer will fail to come up with a justification that a judge can accept. “Among those who laud its mission, it seems that the only people not disappointed in Batson are those who never expected it to work in the first place,” wrote Michigan State University law professors Catherine Grosso and Barbara O'Brien in a 2012 study of racial bias in North Carolina jury selection.

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