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ALBANY – A prosecutor’s exclusion of a black woman from a murder jury because she read the Bible in her free time was rational and non-discriminatory, an upstate appellate panel concluded last week.

The Appellate Division, Third Department, in People v. Knowles, 102279, unanimously rejected defendant Shakeem Knowles’ contention that the prosecution’s peremptory challenges of the woman and two other potential jurors—the only blacks in the jury pool—was impermissibly race-based under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986).

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