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People v. Newton

California Superior Court, Alameda County
Case No. 41266 (1968)


Facts

Huey P. Newton (defendant) was indicted for murdering a white police officer. Newton was the co-founder and Minister of Defense of the Black Panther Party, a group dedicated to ending police brutality against African Americans through organizing African American defense groups. Because of this, the case received much pretrial publicity. Newton’s attorney was therefore concerned about securing an impartial jury. He extensively questioned the potential jurors about whether they had already formed an opinion as to Newton’s guilt or innocence. During his questioning of one potential juror, Newton’s attorney got the man to admit that he understood that his opinion must be based on the evidence presented at trial. However, the man also admitted that he did not believe in Newton’s innocence at the time of voir dire. Newton’s attorney challenged the man’s admission to the jury for cause.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning

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