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Rivera v. Illinois

United States Supreme Court
556 U.S. 148 (2009)


Facts

Michael Rivera (defendant) was charged with first-degree murder. During the jury selection process, Rivera made a peremptory challenge to the selection of Deloris Gomez as a juror. The trial court judge denied the challenge upon suspicion that Rivera’s peremptory challenge was discriminatory. Rivera was ultimately convicted. It is undisputed that there was no cause for the challenge and that Gomez was qualified as a juror. Moreover, Rivera did not allege that Gomez was actually biased against him. Rivera did, however, argue that the trial judge erroneously denied his peremptory challenge and that, therefore, the fair trial guarantees of the Fourteenth Amendment required that his conviction be reversed. The Supreme Court of Illinois found that Rivera’s peremptory challenge should have been granted but that, because it was harmless error, his conviction should not be overturned.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Ginsburg, J.)

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