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Name: People v. Streeter
Case #: S078027
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 06/07/2012

The record did not support an inference of discriminatory purpose in the prosecutor’s peremptory challenges of African-American jurors where the prosecutor had accepted the jury as constituted five times with up to four African-American prospective jurors seated. During jury selection, the prosecutor used three of his five peremptory challenges to excuse African-American prospective jurors. The defense made a Batson/Wheeler motion. The trial court denied the defense’s motion, finding there was an insufficient showing of a prima facie case. The California Supreme Court agreed, holding that the totality of the relevant facts of voir dire refuted an inference of discriminatory purpose. Before the defense made the Batson/Wheeler motion, the prosecutor accepted the jury five times with up to four African-American jurors seated in the jury box. The prosecutor accepted the jury four times with one African-American prospective juror seated and one time with another African-American prospective juror seated before finally using peremptory challenges against them. This was an indication of the prosecutor’s good faith in exercising his peremptories. There was also an African-American juror on the jury panel that was ultimately sworn and the prosecutor repeatedly passed that juror on his peremptory challenges. Further, the prosecutor’s desire to keep African-American jurors on the jury by successfully rehabilitating two after defense challenges for cause tended to show that the prosecutor was motivated by the jurors’ individual views instead of their race. The record also showed race-neutral reasons for excusing the jurors.