In a move to reduce the chances that two blacks charged with capital crimes would be tried by an all-white jury due to the scarcity of blacks in the jury pool, a Massachusetts federal judge decided to target high minority-population ZIP codes with additional summonses.

But a panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner didn’t have the unilateral right to alter the District of Massachusetts’ jury-selection plan. In Re U.S.A., No. 05-2358. That plan calls for notices to be randomly mailed to residence lists in all ZIP codes within each of the district’s three divisions.

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