Monday, March 21, 2011

Supreme Court reverses finding that prosecutor selected jury improperly

In a very short Per curiam opinion (available here), the United States Supreme Court has issued reversed the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit's finding that a trial prosecutor had struck two members of the jury venire for race-based reasons. The defendant's motion for relief based on the prosecutor's conduct had been denied by the trial court and affirmed by the California Court of Appeal. After that court affirmed, the defendant sought habeas relief in federal court, but the District Court denied the motion. The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit then reversed finding that "[t]he prosecutor’s proffered race-neutral bases for peremptorily striking the two African-American jurors were not sufficient to counter the evidence of purposeful discrimination in light of the fact that two out of three prospective African-American jurors were stricken, and the record reflected different treatment of comparably situated jurors."

The US Supreme Court, however, found this conclusion to be "as inexplicable as it is unexplained" and reversed. The case is Felkner v. Jackson and it is available here.

Thanks to the Legal Profession blog for the update.

No comments:

Post a Comment