Georgia v. McCollum, 505 U.S. 42, 8 (1992)

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Cite as: 505 U. S. 42 (1992)

Opinion of the Court

499 U. S., at 409. Regardless of who invokes the discriminatory challenge, there can be no doubt that the harm is the same—in all cases, the juror is subjected to open and public racial discrimination.

But "[t]he harm from discriminatory jury selection extends beyond that inflicted on the defendant and the excluded juror to touch the entire community." Batson, 476 U. S., at 87. One of the goals of our jury system is "to impress upon the criminal defendant and the community as a whole that a verdict of conviction or acquittal is given in accordance with the law by persons who are fair." Powers, 499 U. S., at 413. Selection procedures that purposefully exclude African-Americans from juries undermine that public confidence—as well they should. "The overt wrong, often apparent to the entire jury panel, casts doubt over the obligation of the parties, the jury, and indeed the court to adhere to the law throughout the trial of the cause." Id., at 412. See generally Underwood, Ending Race Discrimination in Jury Selection: Whose Right Is It, Anyway?, 92 Colum. L. Rev. 725, 748-750 (1992).

The need for public confidence is especially high in cases involving race-related crimes. In such cases, emotions in the affected community will inevitably be heated and volatile. Public confidence in the integrity of the criminal justice system is essential for preserving community peace in trials involving race-related crimes. See Alschuler, The Supreme Court and the Jury: Voir Dire, Peremptory Challenges, and the Review of Jury Verdicts, 56 U. Chi. L. Rev. 153, 195-196 (1989) (describing two trials in Miami, Fla., in which all African-American jurors were peremptorily struck by white defendants accused of racial beating, and the public outrage and riots that followed the defendants' acquittal).

"[B]e it at the hands of the State or the defense," if a court allows jurors to be excluded because of group bias, "[it] is [a] willing participant in a scheme that could only undermine the very foundation of our system of justice—our citizens'


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