Black people are being systematically and intentionally excluded from jury service in parts of Alabama almost 140 years after the practice was outlawed in the US, a lawsuit lodged with the federal courts alleges.
The class action has been launched on behalf of thousands of black people in Alabama who were allegedly prevented from sitting as jurors in serious criminal cases, many of which carried the death penalty, in a blatant move by prosecutors to achieve all-white or largely white juries. The complaint claims that the practice has been going on for decades.
It relates specifically to the actions of one prosecutor, Douglas Valeska, who is district attorney in the Alabama counties of Houston and Henry. The lawsuit alleges that he, together with his unnamed associate prosecutors, effectively relegated black people in their areas to "second class citizenship".
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