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Name: Blair v. Superior Court
Case #: B171673
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 06/15/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 10/13/04: S126541

In proceedings on a jury commissioner’s petition for writ of mandate asking the appellate court to overrule a lower court order requiring the commissioner to change the procedures for obtaining citizens to serve on juries, the court held that the county’s failure to resend juror questionnaires to nonresponding citizens did not support a finding that Hispanic jurors were being systematically excluded from jury venires. The trial court found that the disparity between the number of Hispanics qualified to serve as jurors and the number who actually serve as jurors in the county (i.e., the “comparative disparity”) showed that Hispanics were significantly underrepresented and that this underrepresentation was the result of systematic exclusion. The Court of Appeal held that while neither the United States Supreme Court nor the California Supreme Court had ever ruled on the issue of whether “comparative disparity” or “actual disparity” was the proper consideration for a challenge to a jury venire, the state supreme court has consistently used the “actual disparity” test in evaluating such claims. Further, because the challenged procedure (the failure to resend questionnaires that are returned as undeliverable) was race neutral, it may not serve as the basis for a finding of systematic exclusion.