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Racial Bias In Jury Selection

In 1986, the United States Supreme Court decided the case of Batsan v. Kentucky. The court’s decision required prosecutors to explain peremptory challenges of jurors in cases where the defendant can show a pattern of exclusions based on race.

The Batsan case was considered a landmark decision. Prior to Batsan, prosecutors routinely excluded African Americans from juries. At the time the decision was issued, Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall stated that the ruling would not end racial exclusions. In a concurring opinion, he wrote that prosecutors would simply invent phony reasons to offer as an explanation.

Justice Marshall was correct. Prosecutors still have little difficulty coming up with innovative reasons for excluding people of certain races or backgrounds from juries.

When prosecutors engage in conduct that shows a pattern of racial exclusions, there is no available method for dealing with this problem unless the individual charged with the crime is convicted. The conviction can then be challenged on appeal.

Should you, a friend or a loved one ever be charged with a crime, it is important to be represented by an experienced, “street smart” criminal attorney. Please contact the criminal defense attorneys at the law office of Elliot Schlissel by email or at 1-800-344-6431 for a consultation.

Valley Stream, Lynbrook, Baldwin, Malverne, Freeport, Oceanside, Long Beach, Elmont, Lakeview, West Hempstead, Hempstead, Merrick, Bellmore