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Hernandez v. New York

United States Supreme Court
500 U.S. 352 (1991)


A New York (defendant) court convicted Dionisio Hernandez (plaintiff) of attempted murder and possession of a weapon. During jury selection, the prosecutor used peremptory challenges to strike several Spanish speaking Latino jurors from the panel. Hernandez’s defense attorney objected to the peremptory strikes. The prosecutor then explained why he did not want those particular jurors on the panel. Some of the witnesses would be Spanish speaking, and an interpreter would translate their testimony. The prosecutor asked the Latino jurors if they would accept the interpreter’s translation of the testimony, and the jurors responded only that they would try. The prosecutor said he worried that the Spanish speaking jurors would unduly impact the other jurors. Hernandez appealed, arguing that the prosecutor’s use of peremptory challenges disproportionately impacted Latino jurors in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The case ultimately wound up before the United States Supreme Court.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Kennedy, J.)

Concurrence (O’Connor, J.)

Dissent (Blackmun, J.)

Dissent (Stevens, J.)

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