The Legal Investigator The Legal Investigator,Vol.37, Issue 1 Spring 2012 : Page 3

BATSON CASES Miller-El v. Dretke , 545 U.S. 231 (2005): US Supreme Court overturned (on a 6-3 vote) the death sentence of a black defendant because the jury selection was tainted racial bias. It said Texas abused its use of pe-remptory challenges when it struck 10 of 11 blacks from the jury pool. The Court allowed the defense to make its case with statistical analysis of the venire, side-by-side comparison of struck and empaneled ju-rors, disparate questioning and evidence of historical discrimination. Johnson v. California , 545 U.S. 162 (2005): The Bat-son challenge came after California prosecutors used cause and peremptory challenges that left an all white jury for a black defendant accused of killing a white child. The trial judge still did not seek an ex-planation from the prosecutor. Instead, he explained that his own examination of the record had convinced him that the prosecutor’s strikes could be justified by race-neutral reasons. Specifically, the judge opined that the black venire members had offered equivocal or confused answers in their written questionnaires. The case raised the question of States Rights to im-pose its own “more likely than not” standard, rather than an “inference” of discrimination. Reversed and remanded upon certiorari to the US Supreme Court to find in favor of Batson, Wheeler and subsequent cases. United States v. Blaylock , No. 04-1535, August 31, 2005: An attempt to extend Batson to cover sexual orientation. The drug trafficking defendant chal-lenged the government’s preemptory strike of a pro-spective juror because of his sexual orientation. The district court denied the Batson challenge, first ques-tioning Batson’s application to sexual orientation challenges, and then finding Blaylock failed to make a prima facie showing of unlawful discrimination and the government offered legitimate, nondiscrimina-tory reasons for exercising a peremptory challenge against the panel member. The Court of Appeals said, in part, that it doubted that Batson extended to sexual orientation, but its ultimate decision to deny the challenge was that the defense failed to make a prima facie case of purposeful discrimination. The government, it said, offered legitimate nondiscrimi-natory reasons for striking the panel member. spring 2012 Platinum Patron Paul Jaeb Minneapolis, MN Member since 1998 Platinum Patron Ellis Armistead, CLI Denver, CO Member since 1992 Platinum Patron Jayne McElfresh Phoenix, AZ Member since 1995 Platinum Patron Cynthia Hetherington Wayne, NJ Member since 2001 Platinum Patron John Hoda, CLI White Plains, NY Member since 2002 5

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