Monday, August 8, 2011

Batson for GLBT Challenge?

A ninth circuit appeal, argued Thursday, raises the issue of whether the peremptory challenge of a lesbian should receive Batson-type scrutiny. Potential jurors shouldn't be dismissed for being gay, court told, L.A. Times, Aug. 5, 2011.

Daniel Osazuwa, an inmate serving time for bank fraud, was convicted of assaulting a guard. His defense was that he was only trying to embrace the other man—a common way to greet someone in his home country of Nigeria;mdash;and that the guard reacted badly because the inmate is gay.

The prosecution says that its reason for challenging the juror "because she told the court she had close Nigerian friends when the panel was asked if anyone had positive or negative attitudes toward that nationality." Id. To me this stated reason seems at least as shaky as if the challenge were based on sexual orientation. Should an immigrant should be deprived of a juror who has friends of his nationality?

See also  How a Fight over Jury Selection Could Advance Gay Rights, Time, Aug. 8, 2011.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's interesting that minorities are subjected to this type of scrutiny for possible influential associations/opinions when majority jury members (i.e. white, male, heterosexual for example) are never questioned as to whether they can be impartial in ruling on cases involving minorities (i.e. gay, racial, ethinic). Same concept as California judge who was challenged for ruling that anti-gay discrimination was unconstitutional because he himself was gay. Never seen a heterosexual judge challenged over his/her inclinations toward anti-gay thoughts/opinions/impartiality when ruling on a case involving gay rights.