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Name: People v. Romero
Case #: C062495
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 03/27/2012

Defendant's Sixth Amendment claim that Hispanics and Asian-Americans are underrepresented on grand juries fails because there was no prima facie showing of systematic exclusion in the jury selection process. Romero was convicted of murder and other offenses. Among other issues raised on appeal, Romero challenged minority representation on grand juries in Yolo County, alleging the process for selecting the grand jury violated his Sixth Amendment right to have a jury drawn from a cross-section of the community and his right to equal protection. However, to establish a prima facie violation of the cross-section requirement, a defendant must show a distinctive…

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Name: People v. Famalaro
Case #: S064306
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/07/2011

A denial of a change of venue motion in a case with heavy media coverage may be predicated on the size of community with a large, diverse pool of potential jurors. Denise Huber was the subject of an extensive search after her car was found disabled at the side of the freeway in Orange County in June, 1991. Her bound and gagged body was found three years later in a freezer on appellant's property in Arizona. There was a pretrial motion for change of venue filed in late 1996 supported by evidence of media coverage and a telephone survey showing…

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Name: United States v. Decoud
Case #: 04-50478
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 08/02/2006

The appellate court affirmed three defendants’ convictions, holding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in finding a necessity for a wiretap. The panel rejected defendant Decoud’s protestations against the search of a briefcase because he gave up any expectation of privacy by unequivocally disclaiming ownership. The court held that Decoud waived his challenge to the district court’s denial of his motion to sever his trial from that of defendants Trice and Israel; and that the severance argument, even if not waived, is not meritorious because there is no indication that the jury was unable to…

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Name: United States v. Torres-Hernandez
Case #: 05-50136
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 05/08/2006

To determine whether Hispanics are underrepresented in venires in violation of the Sixth Amendment, a district court must rely on the evidence that most accurately reflects the judicial district’s actual percentage of jury-eligible Hispanics. The Ninth Circuit held that a district court may not consider Hispanics who are ineligible for jury service to determine whether Hispanics are underrepresented on grand juries. The district court here correctly denied the defendant’s motion to dismiss where it used the most accurate data presented to it by the parties, data that excluded segments of the Hispanic population ineligible for jury…

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Name: Sanders v. Woodford
Case #: 01-99017
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 07/08/2004
Subsequent History: 3/28/05: Cert. gr. in part

Sanders did not establish a prima facie Sixth Amendmennt violation because he showed that Hispanics were underrepresented on his jury. Although the Hispanics in the jury venire were represented by half of the representation of Hispanics in the general population of Kern County, the methodology used by Sanders was flawed in that it assumed that every Hispanic person in Kern County was a jury eligible United States citizen. Therefore, the court was unable to determine whether the systematic exclusion of a distinctive group kept it from being fairly represented on the…

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Name: Blair v. Superior Court
Case #: B171673
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 06/15/2004
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 10/13/04: S126541

In proceedings on a jury commissioner’s petition for writ of mandate asking the appellate court to overrule a lower court order requiring the commissioner to change the procedures for obtaining citizens to serve on juries, the court held that the county’s failure to resend juror questionnaires to nonresponding citizens did not support a finding that Hispanic jurors were being systematically excluded from jury venires. The trial court found that the disparity between the number of Hispanics qualified to serve as jurors and the number who actually serve as jurors in the county (i.e., the "comparative disparity") showed that…

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Name: People v. Morris
Case #: B153082
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 03/25/2003

During jury voir dire appellant made a Wheeler motion to dismiss the entire jury venire, because the prosecutor had excused three jurors who were either Black or Hispanic. The trial court did not ask the prosecutor to explain her reasons, and found there was no basis for concluding the challenges were exercised on the basis of race. The appellate court here found that appellant waived any assertion of error with regard to his Wheeler motion because he failed to make an adequate record. The record did not identify which of the prosecutor’s challenges were at issue, and…

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Name: People v. Ayala
Case #: S013188
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/28/2000
Subsequent History: Modification of opinion, 24 Cal.4th 467b; rehearing denied 11/15/00

The California Supreme Court agreed with the decisions of most jurisdictions that ex parte proceedings following a motion regarding peremptory challenges to the jury made on the basis of improper group bias are poor procedure and should not be conducted unless compelling reasons justify them. Here the trial court abused its discretion in implicitly finding that the prosecution presented matters of strategy which justified holding ex parte hearings on challenges made under People v. Wheeler (1978) 22 Cal.3d 258. While United States v. Thompson (9th Cir. 1987) 827 F.2d 1254, 1256, fn. 1, observed that excluding the defense…

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Name: People v. Merced
Case #: A088418
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 12/21/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. denied 3/13/02.

When a prospective juror indicates a willingness to engage in jury ification, the trial court is not required to undertake an inquiry into whether the particular details of the case to be tried present a tangible likelihood the person would engage in jury ification if chosen as a…

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Name: People v. Currie
Case #: A084426
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 01/30/2001
Subsequent History: Rev. den. 5/16/01

Appellant did not establish that the underrepresentation of African-Americans was a constitutionally impermissible feature of the Contra Costa County jury selection process. The process was entirely race-neutral. The lower court properly found that the disparity in representation was attributable to the disproportionately high rate of failure to appear by those summoned for service from the Bay District, which included the predominant African-American population. Underrepresentation of minority groups does not amount to the systematic exclusion necessary to support a representative cross-section claim. Nor is the county required to implement practices to correct underrepresentation. Since appellant failed…

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