Trial Process and Discrimination
make sure its 8 sentence each section
Identify and briefly describe the steps in a trial (no need to include pretrial procedures). Start with jury selection.
Then tell us which step in the trial you believe is the greatest area of controversy with regard to discrimination. Why? Support your opinion with at least 2 research sources.
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Respond to one other student who chose a different step than you. Remember to write at least 4 substantive sentences adding more to the conversation (research, examples, material from the book, etc.).
Watch the video and read this article then answer the following:
Supreme Court finds jury tainted by race in murder case:
The Supreme Court on Monday took a major step toward overturning the death sentence of a Georgia man convicted of murder by ruling that prosecutors unconstitutionally allowed racial considerations to taint the jury selection process.
Justice Clarence Thomas was the sole dissenter as the shorthanded court ruled, 7-1, in favor of Timothy Foster, who was convicted of murder after a trial in 1987.
Chief Justice John Roberts, who has been broadly critical of the high court’s jurisprudence on race, wrote the majority opinion (Links to an external site.) holding that prosecutors “were motivated in substantial part by race” when deciding whom to strike from the jury panel in advance of the trial.
Decades after the trial, Foster used the Georgia Open Records Act to obtain a copy of the prosecution’s file, which included numerous notes showing that prosecutors were keeping track of which jurors were African-American and that they seemed to be trying to minimize the number of blacks on the jury.
“The contents of the prosecution’s file … plainly belie the State’s claims that it exercised its strikes in a ‘color-blind’ manner,” Roberts wrote. “The sheer number of references to race in that file is arresting.”
Roberts’ opinion did not directly overturn Foster’s sentence or conviction, but it told the Georgia Supreme Court to revisit its decision denying the convict relief.
Justice Samuel Alito voted to reverse the Georgia court but did not join in the majority decision Monday. He wrote separately on procedural issues while adding that he agreed that “the totality of the evidence” Foster presented showed a taint of racial bias.
Thomas dissented, saying that the conclusions of the Georgia courts should have been respected and that Foster came forward with the evidence of bias too late.
Thomas said his colleagues’ “conclusion … rests mostly on arguments at Foster’s disposal decades ago.”
“The new evidence is no excuse for the Court’s reversal of the state court’s credibility determinations,” Thomas added.
It is unclear how broad an impact Monday’s ruling will have, in part because state public records laws vary and most inmates seem unlikely to be able to obtain copies of prosecutors’ files. In addition, defense attorneys suspect that many prosecutors are careful not to make written notes that could later support a claim that a juror was struck on the basis of race.
After watching the video for this week about racial discrimination in jury selection and reading the article about the Supreme Court’s decision, answer the following questions.
What did prosecutors do when the chose the jury in the Timothy Foster case? What was wrong with their actions? What do you believe was the prosecutor’s most egregious conduct?
How did The attorneys for Foster get the prosecutor’s notes years after the trial? What did they find in the notes?
What did Foster argue to the Supreme Court?
What was the Supreme Court’s decision?
The Supreme court made their decision in a 7 – 1 decision. Who was the dissenting justice and what did he say in his dissent?
Do you agree with the majority of the court or the lone dissenter? Why?
How can we be sure that prosecutors do not use race in their jury selection decisions?