Monday, February 09, 2015

People v. Cisneros (Cal. Ct. App. - Feb. 9, 2015)

I don't like it when either the defense attorney or the prosecutor screws up.  It's the latter that happens here.

It's a Batson claim that you don't see too often:  a claim that one side used its peremptory challenges to exclude a particular gender; namely, men.  The prosecutor did indeed exclude a lot of men.  When challenged, she came up with a variety of reasons for doing so.  All of which the trial court accepted.

Except for one problem.

With respect to two jurors, all that the prosecutor said was that she preferred the next person in the box.

You can't do that.

By definition, whenever you exclude a juror, you obviously prefer the next person in line.  So that can't count as a sufficient justification.  You've got to give an actual reason why you think that this particular juror is bad for you.  Or at least worse for you.

The prosecutor didn't do that here.  Hence the defendant gets a retrial.

It's not a mistake one should make.  Especially since the defense counsel expressly articulated this exact objection.  At a minimum, having been advised that you've got to do more, the prosecutor should have done so.  She didn't.

At least after this published opinion, hopefully it's not a mistake that will be oft repeated.