Talking about having the cards stacked against you. The Supreme Court is deciding the case of Diapolis Smith who was convicted of murder in 1991 for killing a man in Grand Rapids Michigan. The Court will decide whether Smith’s conviction should have been dismissed because there were no African-Americans in the jury pool.
According to The Associated Press, state officials are asking the high court to overturn a decision by the 6th U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
Smith, an African American, was found guilty by an all-white jury and said that his constitutional right to a jury that represents the community was violated because there were only three blacks in the pool of 60 to 100 prospective jurors.
He argued that Kent County’s prospective jurors in 1993 were routinely excused because of child care, a lack of transportation or a conflict with work. Smith also said blacks in Grand Rapids were being diverted to jury duty in a city court, which took them off the rolls for a year.
Blacks in the city made up 85 percent of all blacks in the county.
The appeals court said those decisions resulted in fewer African-Americans being eligible for service on circuit court juries, calling it “systematic exclusion.”