Friday, January 06, 2006

Williams v. Runnels, No. 04-55830 (12-5-06). This is a useful Batson case. It comes from the state (California) where a "Wheeler" standard was used. The prosecutor at first accepted the jury panel, and then when the defense started to exercise preemtories, the prosecutor used three of his four against African Americans (there were only four in the whole panel). The state court found that there wasn't a "strong likelihood" of a Batson violation. This was the wrong standard, as the Supreme Court made clear in Johnson and Miller-El. The defendant need only show an inference of discrimination had occurred. This is a lower standard, the distinction between near certainty and possible. The defendant here made such a showing, and the court erred, in not finding a prima facie case. Interestingly, the prosecutor tried to make a record but the state court judge brushed him off, saying that he didn't have to, and that the record didn't have to be "squeaky clean." The 9th emphasized that the appellate courts shouldn't and couldn't invent or imagine race neutral reasons for such strikes; the Supremes meant to protect sixth amendment rights.

US v. Teeples, No. )3-30307 (1-5-06). On remand from the Supremes in light of Booker, the 9th reaffirms that prior convictions for "lewd and lascivious acts with a child under fourteen" are crimes of violence. The 9th concludes that sexual relations with children under fourteen carries a serious potential risk of injury, physical force, and the abuse of authority, plus the difference in age and size. The 9th remanded under Ameline.


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