Georgia v. McCollum, 505 U.S. 42, 10 (1992)

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

Opinion of the Court

Court in Edmonson used the analytical framework summarized in Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U. S. 922 (1982).7

The first inquiry is "whether the claimed [constitutional] deprivation has resulted from the exercise of a right or privilege having its source in state authority." Id., at 939. "There can be no question" that peremptory challenges satisfy this first requirement, as they "are permitted only when the government, by statute or decisional law, deems it appropriate to allow parties to exclude a given number of persons who otherwise would satisfy the requirements for service on the petit jury." Edmonson, 500 U. S., at 620. As in Edmonson, a Georgia defendant's right to exercise peremptory challenges and the scope of that right are established by a provision of state law. Ga. Code Ann. 15-12-165 (1990).

The second inquiry is whether the private party charged with the deprivation can be described as a state actor. See Lugar, 457 U. S., at 941-942. In resolving that issue, the Court in Edmonson found it useful to apply three principles: (1) "the extent to which the actor relies on governmental assistance and benefits"; (2) "whether the actor is performing a traditional governmental function"; and (3) "whether the injury caused is aggravated in a unique way by the incidents of governmental authority." 500 U. S., at 621-622.

As to the first principle, the Edmonson Court found that the peremptory challenge system, as well as the jury system as a whole, "simply could not exist" without the "overt, significant participation of the government." Id., at 622. Georgia provides for the compilation of jury lists by the board of jury commissioners in each county and establishes the general criteria for service and the sources for creating a pool of qualified jurors representing a fair cross section of the community. Ga. Code Ann. 15-12-40. State law fur-7 The Court in Lugar held that a private litigant is appropriately characterized as a state actor when he "jointly participates" with state officials in securing the seizure of property in which the private party claims to have rights. 457 U. S., at 932-933, 941-942.

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