Saturday, October 31, 2015

Upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case on race and jury selection

Three of the most interesting cases to be heard by the U.S. Sureme Court in Nov. are outlined here.  The most interesting and one with potential for major changes in the law involves prosecution and race in jury selection.  "
"1. Foster v. Chatman (November 2)
When picking a jury, both sides have peremptory challenges that can strike a juror without needing to give a reason for the challenge, but the challenges can't be based on race. In this case, Georgia prosecutors struck all four black prospective jurors for a black defendant's murder trial and provided race-neutral explanations.
As it turns out, notes reveal "the prosecution (1) marked the name of each black prospective juror in green highlighter on four different copies of the jury list; (2) circled the word "BLACK'' next to the "Race" question on the juror questionnaires of five black prospective jurors; (3) identified three black prospective jurors as "B#1," "B#2," and "B#3"; (4) ranked the black prospective jurors against each other in case "it comes down to having to pick one of the black jurors;" and (5) created strike lists that contradict the "race-neutral" explanation provided by the prosecution for its strike of one of the black prospective jurors." Does this count as excluding prospective jurors on the basis of race?"

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