Topic: Cognizable Groups

Improper Melbourne Analysis Requires Reversal of Criminal Conviction

Earlier this summer, the Third District Court of Appeal reversed a criminal conviction due to a trial court’s improper Melbourne analysis.  In Brannon v. State, Defendant, Earl Brannon, was convicted of two counts of criminal trespass and one count of resisting arrest without violence.  During jury selection, the jurors were questioned regarding their prior interactions with law enforcement, as there was expected to be testimony from police officers during trial. […]

August 23, 2021

U.S. Supreme Court and Racially Discriminatory Strikes

The Supreme Court of the United States reversed a brutal murder conviction yesterday concluding that the prosecutor’s peremptory strike of a black college student appeared to be racially discriminatory. In Snyder v. Louisiana, 128 S. Ct. 1203 (2008) the Court held, in a 7 – 2 decision written by Justice Samuel Alito, that the trial court committed clear error in rejecting the defendant’s Batson objection to the prosecution’s peremptory strike. Justices Thomas […]

March 20, 2008

Ban on Using Nationality to Exclude Jurors is Upheld

This Wednesday’s New York Times reports that a federal district court judge has concluded that allowing American-born blacks on a Bronx jury but systematically excluding West Indian-born blacks from the jury is discriminatory. Federal Judge William H. Pauley III concluded that prospective black jurors cannot be excluded  from jury service because of their national origin even though other blacks served on the jury. In other words, it is improper to exclude prospective jurors from a jury […]

March 5, 2008

Whitby Walks

Edgar Sylvester Whitby was prosecuted for permanently disfiguring his victim by throwing hot water on her. He was convicted of aggravated battery “by a clearly impartial jury” in an “otherwise error free” trial. But Edgar is a free man today, and the Supreme Court of Florida just turned down the State’s appeal of this case. State v. Whitby, 975 So. 2d 1124 (Fla. 2008). What happened? During jury selection the prosecutor sought to use […]

February 19, 2008

Whites Overrepresented in Jury Pools

An article in today’s New York Times reports that whites are overrepresented in New York jury pools. A survey of over 12,000 potential jurors was conducted by Citizen Action of New York, a public interest group in Albany. The study found that the people who show up for jury duty in Manhattan are disproportionately white, and that hispanics are the most underrepresented group. I have heard many trial lawyers in Florida […]

June 27, 2007