US Supreme Court reinstates conviction in death penalty case
June 18, Washington: The Supreme Court has reinstated the conviction and death sentence of a California man convicted of murder — even though a lower court found that prosecutors illegally excluded blacks and Hispanics from the jury.
The justices ruled Thursday that Hector Ayala wasn’t entitled to argue that prosecutors systematically excluded minority jurors during his 1989 trial for a triple murder during a drug robbery in San Diego.
A divided California Supreme Court found there were trial errors but they were harmless.
A federal court rejected Ayala’s challenge. But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Ayala was denied a fair trial because prosecutors excused all seven potential jurors who were black or Hispanic.
The Supreme Court ruled that the 9th Circuit should have deferred to state court proceedings.
The Oslo Times