Court again hears Texas white jury case

Dec. 6, 2004 at 12:10 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Supreme Court Monday heard the case of a black Texas death row inmate who says blacks were improperly excluded from his trial jury.

The high court has dealt with the case of the inmate, Thomas Miller-El, before. Last term, the justices ordered a federal appeals court to consider Miller-El's case and his claim.

The appeals court did, but ruled against him, taking several paragraphs in its opinion directly from the dissent of Justice Clarence Thomas in Miller-El's earlier case before the Supreme Court.

Miller-El was found guilty of murder in 1986 in Dallas. He was convicted of killing motel employee Doug Walker during a robbery.

But 10 of the 11 potential members of the jury who were black were stricken by peremptory challenges by the prosecution. It challenged only four of the 31 non-black potential jurors.

The justices should rule again in the case within a couple of months.

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