In 1993 , James Florville, 82, and his wife, Madelynne, 72 were stabbed to death in their Mead Valley home. Today, January 31, 2011, Albert Jones, the convicted murderer, was sentenced to death by the State Supreme Court of California. While the state court upheld the death sentence, two justices expressed concern about racial bias in the case; Jones is African American, while his victims were both white.
While the majority ruling, written by Justice Ming W. Chin, states that the prosecution exercised its challenges to obtain a fair jury, and did not eliminate African-American jurors, Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar and Carlos R. Moreno dissented on grounds that the prosecutors’ reasons for excusing three of five black prospective jurors were not backed by the evidence, and could have been racially based. This 6th Amendment right, the right to a jury of your peers, is part of the foundation of our legal system.