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Name: People v. Mata
Case #: S201413
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/08/2013

Implied consent may constitute “assent of the complaining party” for purposes of an alternative remedy to dismissal of the jury following a Wheeler violation. In People v. Willis (2001) 27 Cal.4th 811, the court held that trial courts are not limited to dismissing the entire venire as the only remedy in the case of a Wheeler violation. Where the complaining party assents, the trial court has the discretion to issue appropriate orders short of dismissal including reseating any improperly discharged jurors. Here, the prosecution improperly used a peremptory challenge to discharge a prospective African American juror under Wheeler. The trial court reseated the juror instead of dismissing the venire. The appellate court reversed, finding that Mata did not “expressly or implicitly consent” to the court’s remedy. The California Supreme Court granted review to consider whether implied consent can constitute “assent of the complaining party.” The court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeal, finding that assent can be found on the basis of implied consent. Here, the trial court proposed the alternative remedy of reseating the juror at a sidebar conference and defense counsel was given a meaningful opportunity to object, but failed to do so. Defense counsel’s consent to the alternative remedy of reseating the improperly discharged juror could be implied from his failure to object.