The Supreme Court on Wednesday firmly rejected the use of racial stereotypes when deciding the proper sentence for a convicted criminal, reopening the case of a black man who was condemned to death after his Texas jury was told African Americans are statistically more likely than whites to commit violent crimes.
“Our laws punish people for what they do, not for who they are,” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said in the courtroom.
Providing the jury with such crime statistics appealed “to a particularly noxious strain of racial prejudice,” he wrote in the decision.
“Some toxins can be deadly in small doses.”
The 6-2 decision faulted...