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Name: People v. Reynoso
Case #: S103340
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/25/2003
Subsequent History: 10/29/03 Rehrg. denied

At their trial for first degree murder, the trial court rejected a defense Wheeler motion challenging the prosecutor’s peremptory excusal of two Hispanic jurors. The Court of Appeal found that the Supreme Court’s decision in People v. Silva (2001) 25 Cal. 4th 345, required reversal. The court focused on the prosecutor’s second race-neutral reason for dismissal – that the juror was not paying attention and was not involved in the process – and concluded that the trial court had not responded to the defendants’ statements that the juror’s demeanor did not support this conclusion. The Supreme Court here reversed the decision of the Court of Appeal. Where the prosecutor’s reasons are either inherently implausible or unsupported by the record, the trial court must investigate further. However, the record here does support such a conclusion. The holding in Silva was not intended to be so expansively applied to cases like this one. Where the trial court is fully apprised of the nature of the defense challenge, and the prosecutor’s reasons are neither contradicted by the record nor inherently implausible, a Batson/Wheeler motion may be denied without detailed findings. J. Kennard, Werdegar, Moreno dissented.