Supreme Court Reversal on Batson Grounds

   Jeffrey Brooks was a student at Southern University in New Orleans. Allen Snyder was a Louisiana man on trial in a Louisiana court for the first degree murder of his wife, Mary. And Mr. Brooks was a member of Synder’s jury panel.

   The prosecution and defense winnowed the 85 prospective jurors of the panel down to 36 through challenges for cause. Five of the remaining 36 prospective jurors were African-Americans, including Mr. Brooks. The prosecutor proceeded to eliminate the remaining African-American jurors through the use of peremptory strikes. In the case of Mr. Brooks, the prosecutor offered the alleged race-neutral reasons that Mr. Brooks allegedly looked “very nervous” during questioning, and that he was a student teacher and therefore allegedly might be more inclined to render a guilty verdict on a lesser charge so that he could return to his teaching duties.

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