Purkett v. Elem, 514 U.S. 765, 9 (1995) (per curiam)

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

Stevens, J., dissenting

Appeals was whether the trial judge's contrary finding was academic because the prosecutor's volunteered statement satisfied step two and had not been refuted in step three.

The Court of Appeals agreed with the State that excluding juror 24 was not error because the prosecutor's concern about that juror's status as a former victim of a robbery was related to the case at hand. 25 F. 3d 679, 681, 682 (1994). The court did, however, find a Batson violation with respect to juror 22. In rejecting the prosecutor's "race-neutral" explanation for the strike, the Court of Appeals faithfully applied the standard that we articulated in Batson: The explanation was not " 'related to the particular case to be tried.'" 25 F. 3d, at 683, quoting 476 U. S., at 98 (emphasis in Court of Appeals opinion).

Before applying the Batson test, the Court of Appeals noted that its analysis was consistent with both the Missouri Supreme Court's interpretation of Batson in State v. An-twine, 743 S. W. 2d 51 (1987) (en banc), and this Court's intervening opinion in Hernandez v. New York, 500 U. S. 352 (1991). 25 F. 3d, at 683. Referring to the second stage of the three-step analysis, the Antwine court had observed:

"We do not believe, however, that Batson is satisfied by 'neutral explanations' which are no more than facially legitimate, reasonably specific and clear. Were facially neutral explanations sufficient without more, Batson would be meaningless. It would take little effort for prosecutors who are of such a mind to adopt rote 'neutral explanations' which bear facial legitimacy but conceal a discriminatory motive. We do not believe the Supreme Court intended a charade when it announced Batson." 743 S. W. 2d, at 65.

In Hernandez, this Court rejected a Batson claim stemming from a prosecutor's strikes of two Spanish-speaking Latino jurors. The prosecutor explained that he struck the jurors because he feared that they might not accept an inter-


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