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Name: People v. Yeoman
Case #: S016719
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/17/2003
Subsequent History: None
[Capital Case] During appellant’s trial for capital murder, the prosecutor peremptorily challenged four African-American prospective jurors. The Supreme Court here held that it could reach the Wheeler issue despite the fact that the motion below would have more properly been brought as a motion to dismiss the venire. In his motion below, appellant contended only that four African-American jurors had been dismissed. The trial court denied the motion regarding three of the jurors for failure to demonstrate a prima facie case. The Supreme Court here affirmed, because the record did indicate grounds on which the prosecutor might reasonably have challenged each of the jurors as to which the trial court found no prima facie case of group bias. As to the single prospective juror as to whom the trial court did find a prima facie case, there was no flaw in the trial court’s determination that the prosecutor’s peremptory challenge was based on factors other than group bias, i.e. the juror’s views concerning the death penalty. The Court also considered appellant’s Batson claim, despite it being raised for the first time on appeal, but found that it failed for the same reason the Wheeler claim failed.