SCOTUS will not hear racially prejudiced jury case

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ASPartOfMe
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11 Oct 2022, 1:36 pm

Supreme Court rejects challenge to death sentence over racially prejudiced jurors

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned away a Black death row inmate's appeal over claims he did not receive a fair trial because several jurors had expressed opposition to interracial relationships.

The conservative majority court’s decision not to hear the case, over the dissent of the court's three liberal justices, leaves in place Andre Thomas’s conviction and death sentence.

"No jury deciding whether to recommend a death sentence should be tainted by potential racial biases that could infect its deliberation or decision, particularly where the case involved an interracial crime," wrote liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor. She was joined by fellow liberals Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson. The court has a 6-3 conservative majority.

In 2004 Thomas murdered his estranged wife, Laura Boren, who was white; their 4-year-old son Andre Boren; and his 13-month-old step-daughter Leyha Hughes in Sherman, Texas. He stabbed all three to death and attempted to remove their hearts, saying later he hoped to “set them free from evil,” according to court filings. He also attempted suicide.

Thomas, now 39, later turned himself in and confessed. While awaiting trial for the murder of Leyha Hughes, in which he claimed he was not guilty by reason of insanity, Thomas gouged out one of his eyeballs after reading a passage in the Bible, the filings said. Years later he removed his other eye and ate it.

Prosecutors agreed that Thomas was in a psychotic state when he committed the murders but countered that it was caused by Thomas’ actions in ingesting a cough medicine that can cause irrational behavior.

At the 2005 trial for the murder of Leyha Hughes, the all-white jury found that Thomas was guilty and sentenced him to death.

In contesting his conviction, Thomas’ lawyers argued that the jury was tainted because three members during the selection process had expressed opposition to people of different races marrying or having children, which was pertinent to the facts of the case because of Thomas’ marriage to Boren.

The state’s lawyers argue in part that all three jurors said they would follow the law as instructed and could deliver an impartial verdict.

Thomas defiantly had incompetent lawyers. What on earth were they thinking during jury selection process?


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that1weirdgrrrl
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12 Oct 2022, 9:36 pm

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the....jury found that Thomas was guilty and sentenced him to death.


The jury only decides innocent or guilty.

The judge decides the sentence.

If Thomas killed all those people he most certainly is guilty, and the jury did fine.

If he is a danger to society, he can't go free. The color of the defendant, victims, or jury all seem irrelevant.

I dislike the death sentence and wish life in prison was a viable option, but it is Texas.


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cyberdad
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13 Oct 2022, 1:54 am

Wait? how did the jury members get to express their views on inter-racial relationships on a murder case??



Dox47
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13 Oct 2022, 4:15 am

cyberdad wrote:
Wait? how did the jury members get to express their views on inter-racial relationships on a murder case??


Jurors can be asked certain questions during voir dire to allow the defense and the prosecution to get a look at them and haggle over who gets on the jury; they can be struck for cause if they show certain prejudices or beliefs (e.g. if a juror opposes the death penalty in all cases they can be struck from a capital trial), and usually each side has a set number of peremptory strikes they can use for whatever reason they want within certain limits.


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cyberdad
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13 Oct 2022, 4:46 am

Oh gawd! the guy is clearly schizophrenic reading his biography. The two jurors bringing up the dude's race are pretty disgusting individuals if the fact the guy is black is more important than the reason he committed these murders.
Jurors should be given an IQ test before qualifying to pass judgement on somebodies life.