The U.S. Supreme Court wrestles Monday with a problem that has long plagued the criminal justice system: race discrimination in the selection of jurors.
"Numerous studies demonstrate that prosecutors use peremptory strikes to remove black jurors at significantly higher rates than white jurors."
Those are not the words of the defense in the case. They come from a group of highly regarded prosecutors, Republican and Democrat, conservative and liberal, who have filed a friend-of-the-court brief siding with Timothy Foster, who was convicted and sentenced to death in the killing of an elderly white woman in Georgia.
It has been nearly 30 years since the Supreme Court sought to toughen the rules against racial discrimination in jury selection. But Foster's lawyers argue that black jurors were systematically excluded from the jury at his trial in 1987, while judges at all levels looked the other way for nearly three decades thereafter.