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Name: Ali v. Hickman
Case #: 07-16731
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/07/2009

Habeas granted where comparative juror analysis shows that prosecutor’s purported race neutral reasons for excusing jurors were pretexts. During Ali’s first degree murder trial, the prosecutor peremptorily struck the only two African American members of the jury pool. On appeal, Ali maintained that the challenges were racially motivated and therefore violated his rights under Batson. The Ninth Circuit held that a comparative juror analysis, in combination with other facts in the record, demonstrated that the prosecutor’s purported race neutral reasons for striking at least one of the juror were pretexts for racial discrimination and that the California appellate court’s contrary conclusion was incorrect and unreasonably so. The prosecutor’s justifications were logically implausible. Taken as a whole, the record compels a finding that the prosecutor’s nonrace reasons were pretexts.