On petition for writ of certiorari to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts.
The petition for a writ of certiorari is denied.
Mr. Justice MARSHALL, with whom Mr. Justice DOUGLAS and Mr. Justice BRENNAN join, dissenting.
Petitioner was convicted in state court of armed robbery, assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon, and assault and battery with intent to murder. Petitioner and his codefendants were young Negroes. Their victim was a white, uniformed security guard employed by Boston University. Petitioner requested the trial judge to direct a specific question concerning racial prejudice to the prospective jurors on voir dire. 1 The trial judge refused; instead, he made only the general inquiry mandated by Massachusetts law, whether members of the array had 'expressed or formed an opinion, or were sensible of any bias or prejudice.' The Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts affirmed the conviction. Ross v. Massachusetts, Mass., 282 N.E.2d 70 (1972). [414 U.S. 1080 , 1081] Petitioner sought certiorari on the grounds that he had been denied the opportunity to have the jurors examined as to racial bias, a right this Court guaranteed in Aldridge v. United States, 283 U.S. 308 (1931). We granted certiorari and remanded for reconsideration in light of Ham v. South Carolina, 409 U.S. 524 , 35 L.E.2d 46 (1973). On remand, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts again upheld the conviction. Ross v. Massachusetts, Mass., 296 N.E.2d 810 (1973).
The importance of the right at issue here-the opportunity to ascertain the racial bias of the venire-can hardly be gainsaid. The right to trial by an 'impartial jury' is a cornerstone of our system of justice.