Wash. must explain when striking minority jurors - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Wash. must explain when striking minority jurors

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) - The Washington Supreme Court says that a prosecutor must give a reason when striking the only member of a defendant's minority from a jury pool.

But that's not going to help Theodore Rhone. Rhone is a black man who challenged his robbery and drug convictions, saying it was discriminatory for the prosecutor to remove the only black from his jury pool without explanation.

Four Supreme Court justices held Thursday the prosecutor's actions were not on their face discriminatory. Four other justices said they would give Rhone a new trial and demand that prosecutors give a race-neutral explanation when they strike the only member of a defendant's minority.

Chief Justice Barbara Madsen broke the tie in a two-sentence opinion. She said that going forward, prosecutors must give such explanations. But for reasons she did not explain, she refused to apply that rule in Rhone's case. His conviction stands.

 

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

 

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