Appeal over removal of black man from jury pool is rejected

Maine's highest court has upheld the conviction of a black man from Lewiston who appealed because the prosecutors eliminated the only African-American from the jury pool.

Malik Hollis, who's serving a three-year sentence, contended the judge made a mistake in allowing the exclusion of the only person of color from the jury.

Justice William Stokes said he couldn't establish any pattern of racial exclusion based on one member of the jury pool being removed. Prosecutors said Juror No. 71 was struck based on education level, not race.

The state supreme court said in its ruling Tuesday that the prosecutor offered a race-neutral explanation for using a peremptory challenge to remove the juror, and that the defense was unable to establish that the explanation was a pretext for discrimination.