Federal Court Overturns Texas Conviction and Death Sentence After 30 Years

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit overturned a Texas defendant's conviction and death sentence because of racial bias by the prosecution in jury selection.  Jonathan Reed, the defendant, had been convicted in 1979 of murder during a trial at which all five of the eligible African-American potential jurors were removed by the prosecution.  The Fifth Circuit, which has upheld many death sentences from the state with the most executions in the country, based its ruling on the U.S. Supreme Court's holding in Miller-El v. Dretke (2005), which it found to have "virtually identical facts" regarding the way the jury was selected.

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