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Report: Dallas prosecutors considered race in jury selection

[JURIST] According to a report [DMN article] published Sunday in the Dallas Morning News [media website], eligible black jurors were being excluded from Dallas County juries by prosecutors more than twice as frequently as whites were turned away as recently as 2002. Earlier this year the US Supreme Court overturned the 1986 murder conviction of a black man [JURIST report; PDF opinion] accused of killing a white motel employee, saying the Dallas County jury was unfairly overloaded with whites. The Court noted that a manual, used by prosecutors for more than ten years, until 1980, instructed prosecutors on how to exclude minorities from Texas juries. Bill Hill, Dallas district attorney since 1999, said his prosecutors don't exclude based on race but rather because they don't think certain jurors will be "fair and impartial." Because defense attorneys rejected potential white jurors at three times the rate they excluded blacks, the report also found blacks served on Dallas juries in proportion to their population. The report, the first of a three-part series on jury selection, involved analysis of more than 6,500 juror information cards, transcripts of juror questioning, and lawyers' strike patterns. Reuters has more.

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