Batson, O.J., and Snyder - Lessons from an Intersecting Trilogy
Suffolk University Law School
Iowa Law Review, Vol. 93, No. 5, 2008
Saint Louis U. Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2008-11
This Article will explore the case of Snyder v. Louisiana as an example of the low threshold established by some jurisdictions that apply the Batson test. By allowing for pretext and flimsy explanations from prosecutors, many courts have inoculated prosecutors from the rigorous potential of the Batson decision. Part I briefly reviews the landmark decision of Batson v. Kentucky to reveal the unrealized potential of this legal opinion. Part II explores Snyder and analyzes both the prosecutors' use of peremptory challenges to achieve an all-white jury as well as the repeated remarks of one prosecutor who invoked the racially polarizing O.J. Simpson case. Part III uses sociological theories of raced-based perception to examine the racial divisions prompted by the O.J. Simpson case. This subsection draws the connection between the likely manner in which an all-white jury would view the O.J. verdict and its relevance to establishing both discriminatory intent on the part of the prosecutors and the absence of neutral explanations for prosecutorial removal of all of the black jurors from Mr. Snyder's jury. In the conclusion, I suggest that the Supreme Court decision is under-theorized because it fails to address the larger issues of race and ethics so clearly at play in the case. I urge, instead, the adoption of a more critical and reality-based framework for the scrutiny of Batson challenges, or alternatively, the abolition of peremptory challenges with respect to capital murder cases.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 39Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: November 19, 2008
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