Upon appeal, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the prosecutors in Timothy Foster’s murder trial unconstitutionally barred black people from the jury. He was convicted of murdering an older white female and the entire jury was white. Foster was convicted and sentenced to death. The issue was brought up in jury selection but the claim was denied. Defense attorneys appealed the conviction because notes were found in an open-records request. The records showed that the prosecutors highlighted the names of the potential black jurors and added B#1 and B#2. On a separate sheet, Defense attorneys also saw that the prosecutors put “definite no.” The five black jurors were then ranked in case one of them had to be picked. Foster’s case was decided after the important case in Batson v Kentucky.
In the Batson case, the United States Supreme Court ruled that when using peremptory challenges in a criminal case, a juror couldn’t be dismissed without a valid reason. This means that a juror cannot be excluded because of their race. The Supreme Court held that a peremptory challenge based on race was a violation of the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. After this case was decided, the objection based on race is now called a Batson challenge. If you have a jury trial coming up, make sure that your defense attorney is aware of all potential issues, specifically a Batson issue that may arise in your case.
The majority in Foster’s ruling held that the focus on race in the case shows that the prosecution made a concerted effort to keep black people off the jury. The dissent in the case held that it now invites prisoners to search for evidence by demanding files from prosecutors who long ago convicted them. The prosecutors in the case claimed that they had other reasons for striking the black jurors. Foster’s case is now being remanded down to the state court. Keep checking the Keller Law Offices blog for further updates on Foster’s case.
If you believe that you or someone you know has been wrongfully convicted or if you believe you have a legitimate reason to appeal, contact Keller Law Offices. Max Keller is a 24-hour criminal lawyer. He is a 24-hour criminal lawyer in Minnesota. Max Keller has represented many individuals who believed they were wrongfully convicted and who had legitimate issues for appeal. He has handled post-conviction relief proceedings as well as appeals in the Minnesota Court of Appeals. He has also won cases in the Minnesota Supreme Court. Call Keller Law Offices for a free consultation. Because Max Keller is a 24-hour criminal lawyer, he will answer the phone at any time of the day and night. Call 952-913-1421. Please visit the firm’s website at Keller Law Offices. Keep in mind that after a conviction, there are certain timelines that must be filed in order to secure your right to appeal. For more information on deadlines to appeal your case, call and ask to speak with one of the appeals attorneys at Keller Law Offices.