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People v. Burgener

California Supreme Court
62 P.3d 1 (2003)


Facts

Michael Burgener (defendant) killed a convenience-store clerk during a robbery. Burgener was convicted by a jury of first-degree murder and sentenced to death. However, the California Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for a new trial. During the selection of the second jury, Burgener moved to quash the jury venire, which is the group of jurors available to sit on his case’s jury panel. Burgener argued that the group of available jurors was not a fair cross-section of the community. Specifically, Burgener alleged that young and low-income adults were underrepresented in the group of potential jurors for his case. During the hearing on this motion, the court’s jury-services manager testified that: (1) her office was occasionally asked to send additional African-American jurors to supplement nondiverse panels and (2) one of the times this occurred was during the week that Burgener’s jury was being selected. The district attorney then requested that the court quash the jury venire and restart jury selection due to possible underrepresentation of African-Americans on Burgener’s jury panel. Burgener joined in the request. However, the trial court refused to quash the jury venire and restart jury selection. Burgener was again found guilty by the jury and sentenced to death. As a death penalty case, it was automatically appealed to the California Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Baxter, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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Concurrence (Kennard, J.)

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