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Sunday, Dec. 3
The Indiana Daily Student


Accused killer uses census for delay

Accused of killing two people, Floyd Wayne Williams Jr. wants the charges dropped — or at least his trial delayed — until the 2010 Census is done so a jury more accurately reflecting the county’s racial makeup can be chosen. Williams, who is black, is to be tried in Atlanta’s Clayton County, which has seen a surge in black residents since the 2000 Census.

Jury pools in Clayton County, like many other jurisdictions, are drawn from voter registration lists, driver’s license data and utility records. The list is then balanced by race and gender from the Census to reflect a cross-section of the population.
There has been an increase in attorneys using a jury’s racial makeup as a defense argument, in particular as Hispanic and black populations in parts of the country have swelled since the 2000 Census, said Jeffrey Abramson, a University of Texas School of Law professor who has written a book about the role of juries.

The U.S. Supreme Court could soon decide whether a Michigan man’s murder convictions should have been tossed out because there were too few black residents in a county’s jury pool. Diapolis Smith, who is black, was convicted by an all-white jury for shooting a man in 1991.

Williams’ case has been drawn out since he was charged in 2002 with fatally shooting Alejandro Javier Gutierrez-Martinez, 48, and 16-month-old Jose Simon Arias during a 2001 home invasion.

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