Purkett v. Elem, 514 U.S. 765, 3 (1995) (per curiam)

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Cite as: 514 U. S. 765 (1995)

Per Curiam

trict Court concluded that the Missouri courts' determination that there had been no purposeful discrimination was a factual finding entitled to a presumption of correctness under 2254(d). Since the finding had support in the record, the District Court denied respondent's claim.

The Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit reversed and remanded with instructions to grant the writ of habeas corpus. It said:

"[W]here the prosecution strikes a prospective juror who is a member of the defendant's racial group, solely on the basis of factors which are facially irrelevant to the question of whether that person is qualified to serve as a juror in the particular case, the prosecution must at least articulate some plausible race-neutral reason for believing those factors will somehow affect the person's ability to perform his or her duties as a juror. In the present case, the prosecutor's comments, 'I don't like the way [he] look[s], with the way the hair is cut. . . . And the mustach[e] and the bear[d] look suspicious to me,' do not constitute such legitimate race-neutral reasons for striking juror 22." 25 F. 3d 679, 683 (1994).

It concluded that the "prosecution's explanation for striking juror 22 . . . was pretextual," and that the state trial court had "clearly erred" in finding that striking juror number 22 had not been intentional discrimination. Id., at 684.

Under our Batson jurisprudence, once the opponent of a peremptory challenge has made out a prima facie case of racial discrimination (step one), the burden of production shifts to the proponent of the strike to come forward with a race-neutral explanation (step two). If a race-neutral explanation is tendered, the trial court must then decide (step three) whether the opponent of the strike has proved purposeful racial discrimination. Hernandez v. New York, 500 U. S. 352, 358-359 (1991) (plurality opinion); id., at 375 (O'Connor, J., concurring in judgment); Batson, supra, at 96-98. The

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