Tuesday, January 02, 2007

This Just Strikes Me As Wrong

I have not read the opinion yet. However, just reading the background of the opinion makes me wonder what the appeals court was thinking when it wrote the opinion.

Apparently, in a murder case, the prosecutor started to exclude a certain class of people. They were not excluded because they were one race or another, or on the basis of their sex. He was excluding all journalists and teachers. The theory for this? They were too liberal.

The court of appeals, which in California is the intermediate court before the State Supreme Court, has stated that this is ok.

As I've said, I have not read the opinion yet. Some would argue that the California and U.S. Constitution only guarrantees that challenges or strikes to jurors based on race, creed, or sex are improper. However, as I recall, the point of a jury is that community is asked to decide who has violated the law. By allowing this type of strikes, it furthers narrows down the pool who can be allowed on a jury.

The basic rule so far has been that a person is eligible to sit as a juror so long as they are not biased one or another. Even in the case of Witherspoon v. Illinois, which gave us the rule that allows prosecutors to have a death penalty qualified jury (i.e. one that does not have people who cannot, under any circumstances, vote for the death penalty), there is the idea that it is actual bias, not potential bias based on what job a person has.

I would suggest that it should be harder to strike jurors, not easier.

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