Thursday, May 12, 2011

Rehearing on Batson claim results in affirmance

US v. Barnette: Barnette was convicted in 2000 of killing his ex-girlfriend and another person. He received a death sentence, appealed it, had his convictions affirmed but received a new sentencing hearing. His death sentence was affirmed; on his second appeal of the sentencing, the Fourth Circuit rejected his initial Batson challenge. Barnette appealed to the Supreme Court, which granted certiorari, vacated the judgment and remanded the case for reconsideration of the Batson claim in light of the Supreme Court's recently-issued opinion, Miller-El v. Dretke. The Fourth Circuit remanded to the district court, which in turn issued a memorandum order, finding that Barnette had not met his burden of demonstrating that the prosecution had engaged in unconstitutional peremptory strikes against five African American members of the jury venire for his second sentencing in 2002. The Fourth Circuit found no prejudicial error in the district court's findings, and affirmed.

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