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

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

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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, NACDL hosted Struck: Race, Jury Selection, and the Need for Reform in Colorado, a webinar that delved 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.)

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