06-20-2018  7:43 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

Oregon gun-storage proposal won't make November ballot

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregonians will not be voting this fall on a proposal to require safe gun storage.Supporters of the initiative petition said Wednesday there isn't enough time to obtain the more than 88,000 valid signatures necessary to get the item on the November ballot.They had until...

Oregon Senator sues governor, state revenue department

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon state senator has filed a lawsuit against top lawmakers and the governor, saying the passage of a controversial March tax measure violated the state constitution.Brian Boquist, a Republican from Dallas, Oregon, filed the suit Tuesday in state tax court, naming...

Suspect arrested in 1986 killing of 12-year-old Tacoma girl

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Tacoma police have arrested a man suspected of killing a 12-year-old girl more than three decades ago.The News Tribune reports 66-year-old Gary Hartman was booked into Pierce County Jail Wednesday afternoon on suspicion of first-degree murder in the death of Michella...

Trudeau: Canada to legalize marijuana on Oct. 17

TORONTO (AP) — Marijuana will be legal nationwide in Canada starting Oct. 17 in a move that should take market share away from organized crime and protect the country's youth, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.The Senate gave final passage to the bill to legalize cannabis on...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

AP Explains: US has split up families throughout its history

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Some critics of the forced separation of Latino children from their migrant parents say the practice is unprecedented. But it's not the first time the U.S. government has split up families, detained children or allowed others to do so .Throughout American history,...

The Latest: Messi gets a chance to save face against Croatia

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Wednesday at the World Cup (all times local):12:16 a.m.Lionel Messi is going to have a hard time keeping up with Cristiano Ronaldo at this year's World Cup.Ronaldo has all of Portugal's goals, a tournament-leading four so far, and has been getting in digs at Messi...

Ex-NAACP chief who posed as black pleads not guilty to fraud

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A former NAACP leader in Washington state whose life unraveled after she was exposed as a white woman pretending to be black pleaded not guilty to welfare fraud on Wednesday.Nkechi Diallo, formerly known as Rachel Dolezal, made a brief appearance in Spokane County...

ENTERTAINMENT

Jimmy Fallon reveals personal pain following Trump fallout

NEW YORK (AP) — Jimmy Fallon is opening up about the personal anguish he felt following the backlash to his now-infamous hair mussing appearance with Donald Trump.The host of "The Tonight Show" tells The Hollywood Reporter he "made a mistake" and apologized "if I made anyone mad." He adds...

After 4,000 episodes, a halt for Jerry Springer's show

NEW YORK (AP) — Somehow it doesn't seem right for Jerry Springer to exit quietly.There should be one last thrown chair or a bleep-filled tirade, at the very least. Instead, it was announced with no fanfare this week that he will stop making new episodes of his memorably raucous talk show,...

Peter Fonda apologizes for 'vulgar' Barron Trump tweet

NEW YORK (AP) — Peter Fonda apologized Wednesday for a late-night Twitter rant in which he suggested 12-year-old Barron Trump should be ripped from "his mother's arms and put in a cage with pedophiles."The all-capitals tweet in the wee hours went on to call President Donald Trump an...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

GOP senator defends EPA chief, calls ethics allegations lies

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Republican senator who had expressed concerns about Environmental Protection Agency...

AP Explains: US has split up families throughout its history

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Some critics of the forced separation of Latino children from their migrant...

Trump supporters steadfast despite the immigration uproar

CINCINNATI (AP) — Cincinnati resident Andrew Pappas supported President Trump's decision to separate...

Burger King says sorry for Russian World Cup pregnancy ad

MOSCOW (AP) — Burger King has apologized for offering a lifetime supply of Whoppers to Russian women who...

Volgograd provides the proper perspective at World Cup

VOLGOGRAD, Russia (AP) — Nearly 60 years since it changed its name to Volgograd, the Russian city once...

Live animals, meat, ivory, wood seized in trafficking stings

PARIS (AP) — Thousands of live animals along with tons of meat, ivory, pangolin scales and timber were...

The Supreme Court
MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court upended the conviction and death sentence of a black Georgia man Monday because prosecutors violated the Constitution by excluding African-Americans from the all-white jury that determined his fate.

The 7-1 ruling in favor of death row inmate Timothy Tyrone Foster came in a case in which defense lawyers obtained strikingly frank notes from prosecutors detailing efforts to keep African-Americans off of Foster'sjury. The decision broke no new ground in efforts to fight racial discrimination in jury selection, but underscored the importance of a 30-year-old high court ruling that took aim at the exclusion of minorities from juries.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the court that "prosecutors were motivated in substantial part by race" when they struck African-Americans from the jury pool, focusing on the decision to exclude two black jurors. Two such jury strikes "on the basis of race are two more than the Constitution allows," Roberts wrote.

The high court returned Foster's case to state court, but Stephen Bright, Foster's Atlanta-based lawyer, said "there is no doubt" that the decision Monday means Foster is entitled to a new trial, 29 years after he was sentenced to death for killing a white woman.

The decision did nothing, however, to limit peremptory strikes, lawyers' ability to reject potential jurors without offering any reason. The late Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American to serve on the Supreme Court, once said that racial discrimination would persist in jury selection unless peremptory strikes were curtailed.

Justice Clarence Thomas dissented, saying he would have respected the decisions of state judges who sided with prosecutors and rejected Foster's claims. Thomas, a Georgia native, recounted Foster's confession to having murdered a 79-year-old retired schoolteacher "after having sexually assaulted her with a bottle of salad dressing."

When the case was argued in November, the justices did little to hide their distaste for the tactics employed by prosecutors in north Georgia. Justice Elena Kagan said the case seemed as clear a violation "as a court is ever going to see."

Still, Georgia courts had consistently rejected Foster's claims of discrimination, even after his lawyers obtained prosecutors' notes that revealed their focus on the black people in the jury pool. In one example, a handwritten note headed "Definite No's" listed six people, of whom five were the remaining black prospective jurors.

The sixth person on the list was a white woman who made clear she would never impose the death penalty, according to Bright. And yet even that woman ranked behind the black jurors, he said.

The court was not persuaded by the state's argument that the notes focused on black people in the jury pool because prosecutors were preparing to defend against discrimination claims.

The Supreme Court's ruling about race discrimination in jury selection was about a year old when Foster's case went to trial, the state said. The 1986 decision in Batson v. Kentucky set up a system by which trial judges could evaluate claims of discrimination and the explanations by prosecutors that their actions were not based on race.

"This argument falls flat," Roberts wrote. He noted that the record shows "a concerted effort to keep black prospective jurors off the jury."

Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens declined to comment on the decision.

Foster's trial lawyers did not so much contest his guilt as try to explain it as a product of a troubled childhood, drug abuse and mental illness. They also raised objections about the exclusion of African-Americans from thejury. On that point, the judge accepted prosecutor Stephen Lanier's explanations that factors other than race drove his decisions. The jury convicted Foster and sentenced him to death.

The jury issue was revived 19 years later, in 2006, when the state turned over the prosecution's notes in response to a request under Georgia's Open Records Act.

The name of each potential black juror was highlighted on four different copies of the jury list and the word "black" was circled next to the race question on questionnaires for the black prospective jurors. Three of the prospective black jurors were identified in notes as "B#1," ''B#2," and "B#3."

An investigator working for the prosecutors also ranked the black prospective jurors against each other in case "it comes down to having to pick one of the black jurors."

Roberts noted that Lanier's reasons for excusing people from the jury changed over time. The chief justice also focused on an apparent different standard for prospective white and black jurors. One African-American man was excused in part because his wife worked at a local hospital, Roberts said. "But Lanier expressed no such concerns about white juror Blackmon, who had worked at the same hospital" and served on the jury, Roberts said.

Thomas objected to his colleagues' late intervention. "Foster's new evidence does not justify this court's reassessment of who was telling the truth nearly three decades removed from voir dire," Thomas wrote, using the term for jury selection.

Foster's case is the rare instance in which the prosecutors' files contained clear evidence of racial discrimination, Bright said. Still, he said, "Courts should know it might be there and be more vigilant in finding it."

The case is Foster v. Chatman, 14-8349.

 

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Associated Press writer Kate Brumback contributed to this report from Atlanta.

Follow Mark Sherman on Twitter at: http://www.twitter.com/shermancourt

 

A look at the Supreme Court's work since the Feb. 13th death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia: http://interactives.ap.org/2016/2016-supreme-court/

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