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Jury – Selection – “Batson” – Judge’s Failure to Make Detailed Findings – Race-Neutral Reasons

State v. Nancy R. Lamon, 2003 WI 78, affirming unpublished decision of court of appeals, affirmed on habeas review, Lamon v. Boatwright, 7th Cir No. 05-4018, 11/8/06
For Lamon: Timothy A. Provis

Issue/Holding: A trial judge is not required to make detailed findings in ruling on a Batson issue, ¶76.

Issue/Holding: That a prospective juror’s last name “is a well-known criminal name” in the locality, and the juror’s address is in a high-crime area and has itself received police contacts are race-neutral reasons for striking the juror. ¶¶80-86. That the prosecutor did not direct individualized questions to this juror is not conclusive of discriminatory intent. ¶¶88-89. And that the juror’s employment record was admittedly spotty (“varies”) is race-neutral. ¶90.

Batson involves a three-step process: 1) determination of prima facie case of discriminatory intent; if so, determination of whether the prosecutor had a race-neutral justification for striking the juror; 3) if so, determination of whether purposeful discrimination has been established. ¶¶27-32. The third step “is the relevant inquiry in this case.” ¶70. See also dissent, ¶ 101. The long and short of it is that the 3-vote dissent parts company on the way the majority handles this inquiry:

¶102. The majority opinion, however, never decides whether the circuit court properly exercised its discretion under step three of the Batson analysis. The majority errs by conflating the second and third steps of the Batson analysis and by concluding that the State’s satisfaction of step two is sufficient, in and of itself, to defeat a charge of purposeful discrimination….

See also ¶¶133-34.


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