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U.S. High Court To Hear La. Race Case

  Legal Business  -   POSTED: 2007/12/04 14:14

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday will hear the case of a Louisiana death-row inmate who contends race played a role in his murder conviction and sentence. Allen Snyder is challenging the elimination of black potential jurors -- and a remark made by the prosecution in closing arguments comparing his case to that of O.J. Simpson's murder case.

Snyder was convicted of first-degree murder in August 1996 by an all-white jury in Jefferson Parish. The jury also recommended the death sentence. He was found guilty of slashing his estranged wife and a man when he found them in a car outside her mother's home in August 1995.

Lawyers for Snyder said the state illegally struck all five qualified black members from the jury pool using preemptory challenges, or challenges for which a reason does not have to be given.

Under a 1986 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, attorneys are not allowed to exclude people from a jury solely because of their race.

A split Louisiana Supreme Court rejected Snyder's challenge, with the majority saying that race had no part in the state's decisions involving potential jurors.


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