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SCOTUS: No constitutional violation in all-white Michigan jury

In a ruling that could make it tougher for minority defendants to challenge convictions by all-white juries, the Supreme Court today in Berghuis v. Smith reversed a 6th Circuit ruling that a Michigan jury selection system – which the defendant claimed drained black jurors from the pool before criminal juries could be selected – did not violate the Sixth Amendment.

Delivering the unanimous opinion for the Court, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that the 6th Circuit should not have disturbed a Michigan Supreme Court ruling that the defendant failed to show a constitutional violation.

“Warranting heavy weight, the Michigan Supreme Court, in a cogent decision, had held that Smith’s evidence failed to prove ‘systematic exclusion'” of black jurors, Ginsburg said today from the bench in announcing the decision. “[A]s that determination was not at all unreasonable, the 6th Circuit had no warrant to disturb it.”

The Court also held in Jones v. Harris Associates LP that the standard set forth in the 2nd Circuit case Gartenberg v. Merrill Lynch Asset Management should be applied when evaluating shareholder suits for breach of fiduciary duty by mutual fund investment advisers.

In its third decision, the Court held in Graham County Soil and Water Conservation Dist. v. United States ex rel. Wilson that the public disclosure bar of the Investment Company Act applies to state and local sources as well as federal sources.

We’ll have much more on these cases today and in the coming days on Lawyers USA online.

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