Snyder v. Louisiana
United States Supreme Court
552 U.S. 472 (2008)
Allen Snyder (defendant) was charged with first-degree murder. During jury selection, 36 potential jurors survived challenges for cause, five of whom were Black. The prosecution used peremptory challenges to strike all five Black candidates without providing a justification. Snyder asserted a Batson claim as to two of those candidates, including Jeffrey Brooks, alleging that the prosecution struck them purely because of their race in violation of Snyder’s equal-protection rights. In response, the prosecution claimed that it didn’t strike Brooks because of his race, but instead, in part because Brooks, a college senior, had expressed concern about missing classes, suggesting a risk that he would choose a lesser verdict to avoid the need for a penalty phase of trial. But a law clerk had already confirmed with the school’s dean that Brooks could make up any missed work and the prosecution didn’t strike other candidates expressing similar scheduling concerns. The trial-court judge upheld the peremptory challenges, however, and Snyder was ultimately convicted and sentenced to death. The Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed Snyder’s conviction, similarly rejecting his Batson challenge. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Alito, J.)
Dissent (Thomas, J.)
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