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Understanding Batson challenges

On Behalf of | Sep 5, 2019 | Criminal Defense |

When facing criminal charges in Wilmington, the last thing that you want to have to contend with is the potential for prejudice amongst those hearing your case. Both those prosecuting you and defending you want to pick a jury that they feel will most likely side with their argument. During the jury selection process, both sides are also allowed a number of peremptory challenges to keep certain people out of the jury box. We here at The Law Office of L. Bryan Smith, PC understand how the misuse of these challenges can impact the outcome of your proceedings, and how your ability to prove such misuse could be vital during the appeal process. 

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling has specifically addressed the issue of prejudice becoming apparent in peremptory jury challenges. In the matter of , a claimant alleged that the prosecutor in his case violated his right guaranteed under the Sixth Amendment to have his case heard by a jury representing a cross-section of his community. He claimed that by the prosecutor using his challenges to deliberately strike jurors of the man’s same race, he demonstrated prejudice. The Court ultimately agreed, and from that ruling rose what came to be known as the Batson challenge

If it is believed that the attorney prosecuting your case deliberately excluded potential jurors due to their race, ethnicity or sex, you might mount a Batson challenge. Such a motion can be made during jury selection or the appeals process. If the court hearing the challenge rules in your favor, it might move to exclude the attorney alleged to have committed the violation and/or afford you a new trial. 

You can learn more about your rights as a criminal defendant by continuing to explore our site.