Thursday, July 30, 2009

People v. Burney (Cal. Supreme Ct. - July 30, 2009)

You might want to read this opinion to see the scintillating discussion therein regarding whether "Asians" -- as opposed to "Chinese" or "Filipino" -- are a cognizable ethnic group for purposes of juror composition. Except that I'm being facetious, since the case merely raises the issue without deciding it.

The only reason I even mention the opinion, which is another in a long line of cases in which the California Supreme Court has unanimously affirmed a death sentence, is idiosyncratic. As far as I can tell, this is the first time ever that someone with the first name "Shaun" has been sentenced to death. Back in the early 70s, there was a "Sean". But heretofore, no "Shaun".

So I don't like the silent precedent here, as I'd rather not be put to death. Thankfully, I'm not in the habit of kidnapping people and putting one in their ear.