Jay V. Johnson v. California
What's at Stake
Reviewing the procedure by which a defendant can establish that the prosecution improperly used its peremptory jury challenges in a racially discriminatory fashion. DECIDED
In 1986, the Supreme Court ruled that a prosecutor’s use of peremptory challenges to bar prospective jurors on the basis of race is unconstitutional and that the prosecutor must offer a race-neutral explanation for her peremptory challenges once the defendant has made out a prima facie case of race discrimination. In most jurisdictions, a prima facie case is established once the defendant raises an inference of discrimination. California, however, requires the defendant to establish a strong likelihood of discrimination before the prosecutor must respond. The amicus brief filed by the ACLU and other civil rights groups argues that the California standard is wrong and undermines the goal of eliminating race discrimination in jury selection.