Purkett v. Elem, 514 U.S. 765, 8 (1995) (per curiam)

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  Next



Stevens, J., dissenting

The Missouri Court of Appeals affirmed, relying partly on the ground that the use of one-third of the prosecutor's peremptories to strike black veniremen did not require an explanation, State v. Elem, 747 S. W. 2d 772, 774 (1988), and partly on the ground that if any rebuttal was necessary then the volunteered "explanation constituted a legitimate 'hunch,' " id., at 775. The court thus relied, alternatively, on steps one and two of the Batson analysis without reaching the question whether the prosecutor's explanation might have been pretextual under step three.

The Federal District Court accepted a Magistrate's recommendation to deny petitioner's petition for habeas corpus without conducting a hearing. The Magistrate had reasoned that state-court findings on the issue of purposeful discrimination are entitled to deference. App. to Pet. for Cert. A-27. Even though the trial court had made no such findings, the Magistrate treated the statement by the Missouri Court of Appeals that the prosecutor's reasons "constituted a legitimate 'hunch' " as a finding of fact that was supported by the record.5 When the case reached the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, the parties apparently assumed that petitioner had satisfied the first step of the Batson analysis.6 The disputed issue in the Court of

kind of all the men and, of course, the women, those are the only two with the facial hair. And I don't like the way they looked, with the way the hair is cut, both of them. And the mustaches and the beards look suspicious to me. And number twenty-four had been in a robbery in a supermarket with a sawed-off shotgun pointed at his face, and I didn't want him on the jury as this case does not involve a shotgun, and maybe he would feel to have a robbery you have to have a gun, and there is no gun in this case." Id., at A-41.

5 The Magistrate stated: "The Court of Appeals determined that the prosecutor's reasons for striking the men constituted a legitimate 'hunch' . . . . The record supports the Missouri Court of Appeals' finding of no purposeful discrimination." Id., at A-27.

6 In this Court, at least, the State does not deny that the prosecutor's pattern of challenges established a prima facie case of discrimination.

Page:   Index   Previous  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11  12  13  14  Next

Last modified: October 4, 2007