Monday, June 13, 2005

Thomas Miller-El

The Supreme Court did something extraordinary today. They listened to a man convicted in Texas of a capital crime who claimed his jury was unfairly stacked with white jurors. It not only listened, it agreed. As David Elliot would say, the Supreme Court gave the Fifth Circuit a big ole slap down. Six of the nine Supreme Court Justices found that the Texas prosecutors who prosecuted Thomas Miller-El for the 1985 murder of a Dallas motel clerk had unfairly kept black jurors off the jury by shuffling the jury pool and using illegitimate pretext for excusing potential black jurors. Miller-El was convicted and given a death sentence by a jury of 12 that included 1 black member. Prosecutors dismissed 9 of the 10 potential black jurors they interviewed. Miller-El also presented evidence that from the 1960s into the early 80s, prosecutors in Dallas County were given training manuals that advised them on excluding blacks and Jews from capital juries.

I've not returned from my hiatus yet, gang. I just needed to share this good news with you. Rulings like these help immensely with assuring that the death penalty is applied in a less racist fashion. I'd like to see it go away completely, but until then, its important that EVERY defendant has the same chances of getting a death sentence and that black and Hispanic individuals are not handicapped before even coming out of the shoot.

Supreme Court reverses death penalty conviction

No comments: