Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Batson remand

Elizabeth Cateforis at the KU Defender Project won in State v. Davis, No. 93,907 (Kan. App. April 20, 2007), getting a remand on a Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986) issue. The prosecutor struck a black juror because he appeared "too intelligent." The COA held that the reasons given for stricking the juror were suspect:

A review of the voir dire transcript reveals that the information provided by V.S. indicating that he might be overly intelligent or that he might overanalyze the case was that he was a master control operator for a television station and that he had previously served on a civil jury. The final jury panel, however, contained members who had jobs that would require highly technical tasks or higher education. Moreover, one of the final members had previously been on the jury of a criminal trial. The United States Supreme Court in Miller-El [v. Dretke, 545 U.S. 231, 241 (2005)], recognized: "If a prosecutor's proffered reason for striking a black panelist applies just as well to an otherwise-similar nonblack who is permitted to serve, that is evidence tending to prove purposeful discrimination to be considered at Batson's third step."
I guess it strikes me as sort of funny that the prosecutor is looking for jurors that won't pay close attention to details, I suppose like the burden of proof and the jury instructions. But then, I've never been a prosecutor.

[Update: the state did not file a PR and the mandate issued on May 24, 2007]

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