The Supreme court ruled today in favor of Timothy Foster, a black man on death row in Georgia, with the conclusion that prosecutors unlawfully excluded black potential jurors when selecting an all white jury. Foster, now 48, was convicted of murdering an elderly woman in 1987 when he was 18 years old. Reuters reports that he could still face a re-trial since his conviction has been thrown out.
During jury selection on the cast, all four black members of the juror pool were removed by the prosecution, citing reasons not related to race. In 2006, Foster’s lawyers obtained access to the jury selection notes and found that each black potential juror was highlighted, marked with a B, and circled the word “black” next to the race question on questionnaires, indicating to Foster’s legal team an explicit reliance on race.
The supreme court made a ruling in 1986 that it is unlawful to take race into account when excluding potentials jurors from a trial.