This essay is about Jury selection, and whether it is acceptable to dismiss a juror in the juror dismissal stage of a trial based on their race.

Essay by armor-helixCollege, UndergraduateB, December 2003

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In the article I chose a man's sentencing was unjustly affected due to a difference in policy between the state he was being tried in, and the national laws regarding the same topic. The policy dispute has to do with the process and exemptions of jury dismissal prior to the beginning of the trial based on motives of race. In trials held within the states it was policy that both sides could dismiss a certain amount of jurors without explaining their motives for doing so. This clashed with a 1986 ruling of the Supreme Court that said a juror could not be removed simply because of his race, which was made apparent in the 1998 trial of Larry Blanding. Larry Blanding was an African American legislator of South Carolina who was on trial for extortion. His Defense was unable to strike a juror because the judge ruled that the attempted dismissal was based solely on race, and that the confederate flag on the bumper of the juror in question was irrelevant.

Traditionally in court trials held within states, including those held in the state of South Carolina where the man in question was tried, both the defense and the prosecution could remove a limited number of jurors, if they felt it was necessary, without explaining their reasons or incentives. Then in the 1986 case of Batson v. Kentucky the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a juror could not be dismissed solely because of his race. This creates a conflict in state and national policy because if the defense is allowed to remove a juror without giving an explanation, then how could the Supreme Court's ruling fairly be given active precedence in the determination of whether or not the dismissal is based on race? How could every judge in every trial...