Supreme Court overturns Louisiana death sentence in race-based jury challenge case Jeannie Shawl at 10:09 AM ET
[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] ruled Wednesday that a Louisiana death sentence should be overturned because the trial judge "committed clear error" in ruling on the defendant's objection to a prosecution peremptory jury challenge, which the defendant argued was based on race. The ruling came in Snyder v. Louisiana [LII case backgrounder; JURIST report], where Allen Snyder was convicted and sentenced to death for the murder. The Supreme Court reversed the Louisiana Supreme Court's decision [PDF text] to let Snyder's conviction stand.
The Snyder case gained notoriety when the prosecutor drew comparisons between the proceeding and the trial of OJ Simpson [CourtTV case materials] during sentencing when urging the jury to impose the death penalty. Snyder had argued that the prosecutor improperly used the comparison to create a race-based rationale for imposing the death penalty, but that issue was not addressed by the Supreme Court. Read the Court's opinion [text] per Justice Alito, along with a dissent [text] from Justice Thomas. AP has more. SCOTUSblog has additional coverage.
Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible, ad-free format.