Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=1591091
 


 



Widening Batson’s Net to Ensnare More than the Unapologetically Bigoted or Painfully Unimaginative Attorney


Jeffrey Bellin


William & Mary Law School

Junichi P. Semitsu


University of San Diego School of Law

April 16, 2010

Cornell Law Review, Vol. 96, p. 1075, 2011
SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 73
San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 10-021

Abstract:     
In Snyder v. Louisiana, the Supreme Court reaffirmed its commitment to rooting out racially discriminatory jury selection and its belief that the three-step framework established in Batson v. Kentucky is capable of unearthing racially discriminatory peremptory strikes. Yet the Court left in place the talismanic protection available to those who might misuse the peremptory challenge - the unbounded collection of justifications that courts, including the Supreme Court, accept as “race neutral.”

To evaluate the Court’s continuing faith in Batson, we conducted a survey of all federal published and unpublished judicial decisions issued in this first decade of the new millennium (2000–2009) that reviewed state or federal trial court rejections of a Batson challenge. In light of this study and studies that have come before, we conclude that Batson is easily avoided through the articulation of a purportedly race-neutral explanation for juror strikes. As a result, there is no reason to believe that Batson is, as the Court suggests, achieving its goal of eliminating race-based jury exclusion and little hope that it will ever do so. In light of our conclusion, this Article proposes an alteration to the Batson framework that we believe would enable trial courts to reduce the role of race in the jury selection process.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 56

Keywords: Batson, voir dire, jury selection, equal protection, peremptory challenge, Commonwealth v. Cook

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Date posted: April 16, 2010 ; Last revised: September 17, 2011

Suggested Citation

Bellin, Jeffrey and Semitsu, Junichi P., Widening Batson’s Net to Ensnare More than the Unapologetically Bigoted or Painfully Unimaginative Attorney (April 16, 2010). Cornell Law Review, Vol. 96, p. 1075, 2011; SMU Dedman School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 73; San Diego Legal Studies Paper No. 10-021. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1591091

Contact Information

Jeffrey Bellin
William & Mary Law School ( email )
South Henry Street
P.O. Box 8795
Williamsburg, VA 23187-8795
United States
Junichi P. Semitsu (Contact Author)
University of San Diego School of Law ( email )
5998 Alcala Park
San Diego, CA 92110-2492
United States
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