WHAT HAPPENED?
Defendant was convicted of murder and sentenced to the death penalty.  Defendant appealed on the basis that the prosecutors engaged in racial discrimination by purposefully removing any non-white jurors from the trial.
WHY IS THIS BEFORE THE SUPREME COURT?
The Equal Protection Doctrine extends to peremptory challenges when selecting juries.  By way of background, lawyers are entitled to strike jurors down for any reason after the Court removes jurors who show evidence of bias.   In Batson v Kentucky, the Court held that attorneys could not use their challenges to specifically remove people based on race; however, the test used by the Court to vet this out isn’t perfect and requires to the Court to (1) infer racial prejudice against the attorney, or (2) have the lawyer admit to being racist on the record.  This case falls somewhere in the middle.
WHAT IS THE RULING
This case is not yet decided.
WHAT ARE THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THIS DECISION?
It would be hard to see the Court revamping the Batson challenge all together, as this case really just decides whether or not the facts on the record amount to what the Court feels should result in a violation.  This case could instruct judges to take more deference when finding violations if a Batson challenge is found here, but that holding would have to trickle pretty far down the line to have any real effect.
YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR FOSTER (DEFENDANT) IF YOU:
Believe it is appropriate to make broad accusations of racism based on an hour’s worth of conduct.
YOU SHOULD ROOT FOR THE CHATMAN (STATE) IF YOU:
Don’t see the irony in the fact that the most famous instance of jury deliberations is called TWELVE ANGRY MEN and based on the picture above could be called TWELVE MOSTLY WHITE GUYS WHO ARE ALSO ALL DRESSED IN WHITE.
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