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Supreme Court refuses Muslim's case about possible juror bias

A Muslim defendant sentenced to 28 years says his lawyer should have been allowed to question a juror who, during jury selection, spoke of possible bias against Muslims. The US Supreme Court refused Monday to hear the case.

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The US Supreme Court refused to hear the case of a Muslim defendant whose lawyer was not allowed to question a juror who spoke of possible anti-Muslim bias.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File

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The US Supreme Court on Monday declined to take the case of a Muslim defendant in Colorado whose lawyer was barred from questioning a prospective juror who, during jury selection, expressed concern that he might be biased against Muslims.

The trial judge refused to allow the defense lawyer to closely question the prospective juror about his possible anti-Muslim prejudice. The judge also refused a request that the individual be excluded from the jury.

Instead, the man became one of 12 jurors who heard evidence in a trial infused with anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim themes and comments, according to court documents.

The defendant, Homaidan Al-Turki, was convicted of having unlawful sexual contact with a live-in housekeeper, of failing to pay her for all her work, and for keeping her in slave-like conditions. He was sentenced to 28 years in prison.

The Supreme Court decision not to hear the case leaves Mr. Turki’s conviction in place.

An impartial jury?

Turki’s lawyers had appealed to the Supreme Court, arguing that the trial judge’s actions violated their client’s constitutional right to an impartial jury.

In their petition to the high court, they said judges must allow trial lawyers to closely question prospective jurors whenever there is a “significant likelihood” that racial or some other invidious prejudice might influence the juror’s deliberations.

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