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Name: People v. Neuman
Case #: E044869
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 08/07/2009

As a matter of law, members of different minorities may not be combined into one group for purposes of a Wheeler/Batson motion. At the jury trial for violation of section 288, subdivision (a), the prosecuting attorney exercised his first peremptory against a Hispanic prospective juror; his second against an African-American prospective juror; his third against an individual whom defense counsel asserted was Latino, based only on the accent (the trial court concluded that the accent was not that of a Hispanic, but of someone from the south); and his fourth against a person who the trial court guessed was southeast Asian, based on the name only. At this point defense counsel challenged the prosecution’s use of peremptories, claiming all four had been against “people of color.” The court denied the challenge, finding that “people of color” did not constitute a cognizable group. The appellate court agreed, observing that in People v. Davis (2009) 46 Cal.4th 539, the Supreme Court concluded that “people of color” was not a cognizable group for Wheeler analysis.