Wednesday, January 14, 2009

5th Circuit overturns murder conviction

The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the murder conviction of Jonathan Bruce Reed, who has sat on Texas' death row for almost 30 years.  The Court sided with Mr. Reed who argued that the systematic exclusion of blacks from juries in Dallas County was a violation of his Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment right to trial by a jury of his peers.

Mr. Reed is white.

In so ruling, the Court is saying that the systematic exclusion of any group from service on a jury is a violation of a citizen's right to trial by jury, per Batson v. Kentucky, regardless of the citizen's sex, race or ethnic background.

The decision also serves to define jury of one's peers to mean a jury made up of a cross-section of a geographic community.

See also:

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