Struck: Race, Jury Selection, and the Need for Reform in Colorado

Resources for 'Struck: Race, Jury Selection, and the Need for Reform in Colorado,' a webinar taking place on Monday, March 28th from 12:00pm – 1:00pm ET (10:00am – 11:00pm MT). No CLE credit is available for this webinar.

Webinar Resources   Speakers
Webinar Recording

In Batson v. Kentucky (1986), the Supreme Court created a two-step inquiry in order to determine whether the use of peremptory strikes were racially biased.  In what is now known as a Batson challenge, someone may object to the use of a peremptory strike on the grounds that it is being used to exclude a potential juror based on race. In 2010, the Equal Justice Initiative conducted a comprehensive study that exposed that the racially biased use of peremptory strikes persists, and Colorado is no exception. This year, Colorado legislators considered SB 128, legislation that would have allowed courts and opposing counsel to raise objections to the use of peremptory challenges that eliminate jurors for reasons that correlate to race. The bill would have provided a list of presumptively invalid reasons for peremptory challenges, such as having prior contact with law enforcement officers, receiving state benefits, or residing in certain neighborhoods.
On Monday, March 28th, 2022, at 12:00pm ET (10:00am MT), NACDL hosted Struck: Race, Jury Selection, and the Need for Reform in Colorado, a webinar that will delve into the discriminatory use of peremptory strikes in jury selection and avenues for reform. The discussion was moderated by NACDL’s Public Defense Counsel Monica Milton and featured the nation’s leading jury experts including Paula Hannaford-Agor, Director of the Center for Jury Studies at the National Center for State Courts; Tristan Gorman, Policy Director, Colorado Criminal Defense Bar; and Brendon Woods, Alameda County Public Defender. 


Webinar Resources


Case Law

  • People v. Ojeda Opinion (2021)

  • People v. Silas, A150512 (Cal. Ct. App. Sep. 17, 2021) (Contra Costa, CA)(Reversing a conviction for racially discriminatory strikes based upon juror support of Black Lives Matter.)

  • Flowers v. Mississippi, 588 U.S. ___ (2019) (Successful challenge of racially motivated strikes by the prosecution, based on a pattern of conduct over the course of 6 trials. In Sept. 2020 the state dropped the charges against Flowers.)

  • Foster v. Chatman, 578 U.S. ___ (2016) (Successful challenge of racially motivated strikes by the prosecution, relying on after discovered evidence of prosecution team notes)

  • Georgia v. McCollum, 505 U.S. 42 (1992) (holding the Constitution prohibits the defendant from engaging in purposeful racial discrimination in the exercise of peremptory challenges.)




Tristan GormanTristan Gorman is the Policy Director for the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar and the Meyer Law Office, lobbying state legislation concerning criminal law and immigration issues. She routinely works with other stakeholders in the criminal legal system to effect statutory reform, including the Office of the State Public Defender, Alternate Defense Counsel, and the Colorado Juvenile Defender Center. She has worked directly on numerous bills, including death penalty repeal, the Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity Act, Felony Murder Reform, and the elimination of Juvenile Fees and Costs. In 2019, she served on the Interim Study Committee for Prison Population Management, and in 2021, she was appointed to the Governor's Council on Human Trafficking. Tristan began her career as a Deputy State Public Defender in the Denver Trial Office and has practiced as Alternate Defense Counsel and as private counsel in metro Denver.

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Paula Hannaford-AgorPaula Hannaford-Agor, the Director of the Center for Jury Studies, joined the Research Division of the National Center in May 1993.  In this capacity, she regularly conducts research and provides technical assistance and education to courts and court personnel on the topics of jury system management and trial procedure; civil litigation; and complex and mass tort litigation.She has authored or contributed to numerous books and articles on the American jury including Jury Trial Innovations (2d ed. 2006), The Promise and Challenges of Jury System Technology (NCSC 2003) and Managing Notorious Trials (1998).  She received her law degree and a Master of Public Policy degree from the College of William & Mary in 1995 and her Bachelor of Arts in Government & Politics from George Mason University in 1991.

Monica MiltonMonica Milton serves as Public Defense Counsel and assists with all aspects of NACDL’s Public Defense Reform and Training portfolio with a focus on the Bureau of Justice Assistance grant titled “Justice For All: Supporting the Sixth Amendment.”  This grant is aimed at assessing state and local jurisdictions’ ability to safeguard fundamental protections of the Sixth Amendment with an emphasis on speedy trial rights, impartial and representative juries, and access to witnesses and evidence.

Monica has over six years of experience in criminal and public defense work, with a heavy focus on appellate and post-conviction relief. Prior to joining NACDL, she served as a Criminal Justice Act attorney with the D.C. Court of Appeals representing indigent defendants in a wide range of cases including ineffective assistance of counsel claims, misdemeanors, drug offenses, assault, and murder.

Monica is a proud graduate of Northeastern University School of Law.  While at Northeastern University, she participated in the Prisoner’s Rights Clinic which included representing an indigent client before a seven-member panel of the Massachusetts Parole Board.  She also completed internships at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts, and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

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Brendon WoodsBrendon Woods, appointed in December 2012, is the first Black Chief Public Defender in Alameda County’s history. Woods has 20 years of experience in criminal defense litigation and leads 170 staff in providing superior legal defense in more than 3,000 new files monthly. Woods is committed to providing holistic representation to his clients and is a nationally recognized leader in public defense. He is a Board Member and former President of the California Public Defenders Association and was honored with the Harvard Law School Wasserstein Public Interest Fellowship for outstanding public service. From a young age, Brendon Woods had formative experiences with law enforcement –steering his life and career toward public defense. He feels fortunate to fight for those battling systems of oppression and strives to reshape the discourse and nature of public defense and criminal justice as a whole.