May 23, 2016 (NPR) -- The U.S. Supreme Court ruled today that a black Georgia man convicted of murder by an all-white jury should have a new trial because the prosecution deliberately excluded African-Americans from the jury based on their race.

The court's decision reversed as "clearly erroneous" an earlier ruling by the Georgia Supreme Court, which had said the defendant had not proved racial discrimination in the selection of his jury.

It has been nearly 30 years since the U.S. Supreme Court set new rules to counter race discrimination in the seating of juries. But in some jurisdictions, the propensity to bar nonwhite jurors persisted, even in capital cases such as the one against Timothy Foster, a black man accused of killing an elderly white woman.

“Two peremptory strikes on the basis of race are two more than the Constitution allows.” - Chief Justice John Roberts 

WHY THIS MATTERS MOST: This case has ramifications across the country because arguably hundreds or thousands of death penalty cases involve peremptory exclusions based on race.


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