Georgia case may undermine the right to a trial by a jury of your peers

SCOTUS

The right to a trial by a jury of your peers is one of the oldest in our legal tradition, reaching all the way back to 13th century England and the Magna Carta. It is embedded in the U.S. Constitution as well.

But Timothy Foster, a black man from Rome, has been denied that basic right by the state of Georgia, and unless the U.S. Supreme Court intervenes, he may die as a result.

Here are the facts:

In 1987, Foster was an 18-year-old with a history of drug use and crime. He was arrested in the truly brutal murder of Queen White, a 79-year-old retired white teacher, and he confessed his guilt, leaving the jury to determine whether he deserved to die. Again, there’s no question about the cruelty of White’s murder. But the Rome News-Tribune recently interviewed Foster’s defense attorney, who recalled trying to convince Foster’s father to testify in the penalty phase of his son’s trial. The father refused.

“He told me ‘We smoke our dope, we laugh and I can always make another kid,’” Bob Finnell said. “You wonder how could somebody say that about his child. It was chilling.”

Thanks to prosecutor notes obtained through an open records demand, we now know that prosecutors consciously conspired to deny Foster a jury of his peers. Prosecutors highlighted the race of every potential black person in the jury pool. In another document, black potential jurors were marked with the notation #B1, #B2, #B3, etc. They were all listed on a third document labeled “Definite NO”.

In the end, prosecutors got the all-white jury they wanted, and that all-white jury then sentenced Foster to death.

As far back as 1880, however, the Supreme Court had ruled that it is unconstitutional to deny people the right to sit on a jury by virtue of their race. That was long before the civil rights movement, but even back then the logic was clear. “It is not easy to comprehend how it can be said that, while every white man is entitled to a trial by a jury selected from persons of his own race or color, or, rather, selected without discrimination against his color, … a negro is not.”

So in securing that all-white jury, prosecutors in the Foster case — officers of the court who were sworn to uphold the Constitution — were in fact consciously attempting to violate it. They knew that it was illegal to use racial profiling in selecting a jury, but to get the outcome they sought, they established an elaborate system to do so anyway.

Larry Thompson, the former deputy attorney general in the Bush administration and a former U.S. prosecutor here in Georgia, has joined seven other well-known prosecutors in a brief to the Supreme Court in support of Foster, concluding that “the evidence of purposeful discrimination is overwhelming.” They also cite evidence that thousands of defendants around the country continue to be subjected to that same miscarriage of justice, noting that “unconstitutional discrimination has no place in a conscientious prosecution.”

Foster’s case was argued last week before the Supreme Court, but technical procedural questions may prevent the court from deciding it on its merits anytime soon. However, the bottom line is pretty clear: Prosecutors cannot uphold the law by breaking it, and that’s what too many are doing.

Reader Comments 0

724 comments
td1234
td1234

Denmark is such a great place and their middleclass has it so well: 


"But the reality of Denmark doesn't quite measure up to the left's soaring praise for the country. First, the middle-class-punishing tax rates: Denmark regularly has one of the highest top personal income tax rates in the world, currently around 60%, and income tax accounts for over 25% of its GDP (as compared to 15% in the U.S.). But that 60% rate is not just for the greedy one-percenters; that's a rate that applies to everyone who makes around $60,000:

Scandinavian income taxes raise a lot of revenue because they are actually rather flat. In other words, they tax most people at these high rates, not just high-income taxpayers. The top marginal tax rate of 60 percent in Denmark applies to all income over 1.2 times the average income in Denmark. From the American perspective, this means that all income over $60,000 (1.2 times the average income of about $50,000 in the United States) would be taxed at 60 percent.

Then there's Denmark's value-added tax, which is a whopping 25% (as compared to America's average of 7% sales tax) and makes up about 10% of its GDP. 

honested
honested

@td1234 

Yes tiny dog, Civilization costs.

And aside from hard-headed conserrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrvatives, most people don't car about the tax rates considering they receive substantial Civilization for it.

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

@td1234 Yes, cuz tax rates and tax rates alone are the sole components of quality of life measures.

Check the tax rates in Somalia...

And, on edit, according the tiny doom, the amount of square feet of living space is the other critical determinant for quality of life.

Sheesh...

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

@td1234 In what country do you reside?  If I am not mistaken the below lyrics does not distinguish between rich, poor, black, white, progressive or conservative so why should the politicians of this country dictate policy based on such?  My father was poor and black yet America still accepted him into combat to serve this country.  They did not ask him if he was a progressive or conservative they just wanted him to serve.  Bye Criag your comments are beyond stupid today.  

My country, 'tis of thee,

Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing;

Land where my fathers died

Land of the pilgrims' pride,

From ev'ry mountainside

Let freedom ring!

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@StraightNoChaser  "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me
,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Statue of Libery

Kamchak
Kamchak

How many billions of dollars are wasted on the War On Drugs?

And yet, illegal drugs still exist.

td1234
td1234

@Kamchak They sure do because the progressives have not allowed the quick death penalty for those that are dealers. 

td1234
td1234

@LordHelpUs And this is the first core duty of the Federal government. Without the need to join together in common bonds for defense then there is no need for the government to exist.

td1234
td1234

@LordHelpUs Poverty exist due to the decisions people make so what you are really saying is we will always have stupid democrat voters?

SimpleTruths
SimpleTruths

@td1234 @Kamchak  "the quick death penalty for those that are dealers. "

Is there a poll showing that any sizable group supports that?

td1234
td1234

@Doggone_GA Reduce the welfare rolls by 50% and see how it can then happen. 

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@td1234 @Kamchak

Dr. Painkillerman prescribing hydrocodone for 2 year olds says "what you talkin' about Willis?"

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@td1234 @Doggone_GA 

Promote: 1. further the progress of (something, especially a cause, venture, or aim); support or actively encourage

td1234
td1234

@Eye wonder It does in the vast majority of the cases and if they were not making bad decisions then the taking care of the poor would go back to where it belongs. In the Church where the persons financial and spiritual needs could be met.  

td1234
td1234

@Doggone_GA "Support and actively encourage"


Do not drop out of school, do not do drugs, do not have babies out of wedlock and you dramatically increase your chances of having a good life in this country. 


I have yet to hear Obama or the progressives to actively encourage this message or support the Conservatives in this message. 

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@td1234 @Eye wonder  I would suggest you check into the reality of churches trying to do that.  Even with government helping, they can't keep up with the demand.

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@td1234 @LordHelpUs  "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America"
The reason we have a Constitution.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@td1234 @Eye wonder

The only church that matters in the USA is The Almighty Greenback. God doesn't care; really, he / she / it doesn't give a rat's a$$.

td1234
td1234

@LordHelpUs And that one speech highlighted the three points I made? On top of that you expect one speech on staying in school as evidence of supporting something? 


Wow, is all I can say. 

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

@td1234 @LordHelpUs Nope, there's tons of this.  Want to admit you made it up and had no idea what you were talking about?

td1234
td1234

@Doggone_GA It is not blaming them to tell the the reality of the situation and to get them to take responsibility for changing their situation. As long as the people are not willing to tell others what will happen if you done X,Y and Z and allow the government to bail them out for making poor decisions then nothing will ever change. 

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@td1234 @Doggone_GA  It IS blaming them when you castigate them without knowing their exact situation.  You try to make it a black/white issue: good or bad decisions

It's not black or white...it's many, many shades of grey




td1234
td1234

@Doggone_GA 1: Verify the information the government is given before benefits are released. 

2: Mandatory drug test for benefits.

3: Work requirement (or community service) for benefits received. 


That would reduce the size in about three years. 

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA

@td1234 @Doggone_GA  1. proof that is not already done?

2.) Why?

3. proof that is not already done?

"That would reduce the size in about three years"

And your proof of that is?



td1234
td1234

@Doggone_GA I will not do your homework for you. 


You prove the statements are not true

td1234
td1234

@LordHelpUs Is that all you have when you totally get your butt kicked? Very sad sack. 

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@Eye wonder @td1234 @LordHelpUs


Its not true in all cases. But its true in the overwhelming number of cases. Only about 1% of the population stays permanently poor. And in that 1% you will usually find a lot of criminal history, illicit drugs, and other anti social behavior. Again. It mostly comes down to choices. 

td1234
td1234

@Doggone_GA Been down this road many times with you and every time I prove my points you do not say. Yes, td1234 you were right and I was wrong or learn from them so, therefore, my statements will be considered facts until they are dis-proven by you. Sorry for being so hard but my years in the classroom have taught me that some people must do their own research or they never learn anything. 

Doggone_GA
Doggone_GA


@td1234 @Doggone_GA  "my statements will be considered facts until they are dis-proven by you"

Nope, what they will be considered is uproven statement.  They are not FACTS until they are prove.  So prove them


Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@Doggone_GA @td1234


Easy. Incentives. Incentives and disincentives are what drive all human behavior. Put an incentive for people to not work and guess what happens?- they don't work. Put an incentive for people to work and guess what happens. They work. It aint hard. 


For example, people are like critters. If you feed and provide for them all the time they have no incentive to fend for themselves. Don't feed em and provide for them and guess what?- They have one helluva incentive to get off they duff and work. 

td1234
td1234

@LordHelpUs Have you ever been to those countries? Our poor live better than their middleclass. 

td1234
td1234

@LordHelpUs So that is the reason the young middleclass is leaving those countries (besides Germany)? Why are not the young middleclass or even the poor leaving the US for more opportunity in those countries if it is so great? 

td1234
td1234

@Doggone_GA It is a fact as I stated above. If you do not like it then to bad

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

@td1234 @LordHelpUs Put the goalposts down, Jethro.

YOU were saying OUR poor live better than THEIR middle class and that is pure bovine excrement.

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@LordHelpUs @Doom Classical liberal @SimpleTruths @Kamchak


Yes. I have. And they mostly score very high on Milton Friedman's economic freedom index. 


And I've known plenty of foreign exchange students from those countries. It used to shock those kids that most of their American kid friends had their own car- something they couldn't even fathom. 


And when my dad was stationed in Germany it shocked him that his landlord was middle class but couldn't afford a car. Not uncommon over there to not be able to afford a car given their tax burdens. 

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@td1234 @Doom Classical liberal


Progs are some strange creatures. Its bizarre but it seems in prog fantasy land that these people simply ignore common traits of human nature that we've known for 6,000 years. In their policies and social tinkering they seem oblivious to taking into consideration incentives and disincentives that drive all human behavior. 

Doom Classical liberal
Doom Classical liberal

@LordHelpUs @td1234


Um. Our poor are materially better off than many Germans and French man. Did you not know that according to our very own Census that the average poor person in the U.S. has more square footage of living space than the average Frenchman or German? That is a fact of life, sir. 

LordHelpUs
LordHelpUs

@Kamchak How much have we spent on military, yet threats and wars still exist?