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People v. Newton

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


Newton (defendant) was indicted for murdering a white police officer. Newton is the co-founder and Minister of Defense of the Black Panther Party. The group is dedicated to ending police brutality against African Americans through organizing African American defense groups. Because of this, the case received much pre-trial publicity. Newton’s attorney is therefore concerned about securing an impartial jury. He extensively questions the potential jurors about whether they have already formed an opinion as to Newton’s guilt or innocence. As he goes back and forth with one potential juror, Newton’s attorney gets the man to admit that he understands that his opinion must be based on the evidence presented at trial. However, the man also admits that he does not believe in Newton’s innocence at the time of voir dire. Newton’s attorney challenges the man’s admission to the jury for cause.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning

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