A longtime Texas death row inmate from Houston has lost a federal court appeal that argued his trial lawyers were deficient for not challenging the selection of an all-white jury to consider his capital murder case.
Appeals lawyers for 53-year-old Willie Washington contended years later they found Harris County prosecutors had made race notations on juror questionnaires that indicate the jury selected for his 1986 trial was improper. Washington is black.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday joined lower courts that rejected the arguments, saying the challenge could have been raised during jury selection or much earlier in the appeals process following Washington's conviction.
Washington was condemned for fatally shooting a Houston grocery store employee during a December 1985 robbery. He doesn't have an execution date.