By Barry Scheck, Co-Director, The Innocence Project
This piece originally appeared on Salon.
Earlier this month, Glenn Ford, an African-American man, walked out of the Louisiana State Penitentiary after spending thirty years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. One of the most important contributing factors to his death sentence? Racial discrimination in the selection of his all-white jury. In a community that is almost half African-American, the prosecutor struck African-American jurors with the flimsiest of excuses.
That kind of bias not only contributes to guilty verdicts for the innocent, it tilts the playing field toward death, particularly for defendants of color.
In North Carolina, the state Supreme Court has a chance to show the country that race bias should not be allowed to corrupt our jury system.
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