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Name: People v. Dement
Case #: S042660
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 11/28/2011

Use of peremptory challenges to exclude prospective jurors on the basis of gender is unconstitutional when there is a discretionary purpose. In this death penalty case, the Supreme Court considered appellant’s contention that the prosecution exercised his peremptory challenges in a discriminatory fashion to exclude female prospective jurors. At the hearing on the Wheeler motion, defense counsel asserted that the prosecutor used challenges against six women “in a row,” and exercised 10 of his 13 challenges against women when women constituted half of the panel. The jury was ultimately comprised of six women and six men. Under the facts of the case, the Court found that the use of 10 of 13 peremptory challenges against women here was inconsistent with an inference of discriminatory purpose.