DALLAS -- The US Supreme Court decision that overturned the murder conviction of a black man accused of killing a white hotel clerk during a robbery cited a manual that instructed prosecutors on how to exclude minorities from Texas juries.
But the county prosecutor said the ruling didn't call into question the guilt of the inmate, Thomas Miller-El, and the state plans to seek the death penalty again in a new trial.
''His guilt of this heinous crime is not in question," Dallas District Attorney Bill Hill said. Prosecutors have until late November to set a trial date or Miller-El could be released.
Miller-El's attorney, Jim Marcus, said his client retains the presumption of innocence ''until proven guilty in a constitutionally fair trial."
The Supreme Court overturned Miller-El's conviction in June, citing a manual written in 1969 that instructed prosecutors on how to exclude minority jurors. In Miller-El's case, the racial discrimination in the jury selection process was unquestionable, Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter wrote in the 6-3 decision.
The 12-member jury that sentenced Miller-El to death row in 1986 included one black. Prosecutors had struck 10 of the 11 blacks eligible to serve.
''If anything more is needed for an undeniable explanation of what was going on, history supplies it," Souter wrote. ''The prosecutors took their cues from a 20-year-old manual of tips on jury selection, as shown by their notes of the race of each potential juror."
The manual was written by Jon Sparling, a top assistant to longtime Dallas District Attorney Henry Wade.
Sparling, now retired, did not return a phone call seeking comment. In 2002, he told The New York Times he wrote the instructions informally and quickly.