SCOTUS Reality Check

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

SCOTUS Reality Check

Yesterday U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Thomas Miller-El, which overturned his Texas death penalty conviction on the grounds that the jury selection process was totally tainted, that the Dallas prosecutors intentionally struck black jurors from the box. (He's going to get a new trial.)

However, over at my buddy's anti-death penalty blog he points out that what is truly shocking thing about this case is that it wasn't a unanimous decision-- in spite of the fact that much of the blatant prejudice used in jury selection was actually written out in a handbook for training new Dallas County prosecutors. Here are just a few choice quotes:
"You are not looking for any member of a minority group which may subject him to oppression – they almost always empathize with the accused."

"Look for physical afflictions. These people usually sympathize with the accused."

"I don't like women jurors because I can't trust them."

"Young women too often sympathize with the defendant; old women wearing too much makeup are usually unstable and therefore are bad State's jurors."

"Jewish veniremen generally make poor State's jurors. Jews have a history of oppression and generally empathize with the accused."
Can anyone explain to me how this was a 6-3 decision? Or how Clarence Thomas wrote the dissenting opinion? (Check it out on pg. 54 of the opinion-- a PDF.) It boggles the mind.

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