Texas Prosecutor Says He Was Encouraged To Exclude Black Jurors

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WHARTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — A Texas prosecutor says he was encouraged by his boss to exclude blacks from juries.

Wharton County Assistant District Attorney Nathan Wood spoke during a March 11 hearing following conviction of a black woman on assault charges. No blacks were on the jury.

Wood, according to the hearing transcript, indicated he told a friend about feeling stress over the trial and being “instructed” by District Attorney Ross Kurtz to exclude black jurors. Wood said his friend apparently told the private conversation to the judge, prompting the hearing.

Wood later in the hearing said Kurtz never gave him a direct order to strike jurors based on race.

Kurtz on Tuesday said he’s always told his prosecutors not to take race into account in deciding which potential jurors to strike.

Wharton, Texas is about 60 miles southwest of Houston.

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