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Name: Kesser v. Cambra
Case #: 02-15475
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 09/11/2006

When evaluating the credibility of a prosecutor’s race-neutral reasons for exercising a peremptory challenge, the reviewing court must examine the entire record, not only the portions of the voir dire that support the race-neutral justifications. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s denial of the defendant’s petition for writ of habeas corpus, noting that where the defendant makes a prima facie showing that a challenge was based on a juror’s race, the prosecutor must offer a race-neutral reason for that exclusion. Here, the prosecutor’s reasons for striking some Native American jurors were based on factors such as their work with tribal institutions, the perceived suspicion of Native Americans toward the criminal justice system, and other factors that were not race neutral. The state court’s findings upholding defendant’s conviction were unreasonable because they failed to consider evidence in the record that contradicted the prosecutor’s purportedly race-neutral motivations.