Wednesday, April 22, 2015

U.S. v. Alvarez-Ulloa (9th Cir. - April 21, 2015)

I'm confident that readers of this blog are not surprised when they're struck from a jury panel.  Not surprised, and in many cases, not bummed about it either.

But if you want to get an articulation of why you might be struck, here's a good example.

From the perspective of the prosecutor:

"Panelist 29 was struck, according to the government, because she was a third-year law student and had previously worked for a criminal defense firm. The government contended that this background was 'indicative of somebody who would be less trusting of the government in immigration prosecution.'"

From the perspective of the court (in this case, Judge Wake in Arizona):

"I find that both articulated grounds are facially neutral. She’s two years out of law school. She’s worked in law offices. . . . I’ve never been able to get on a jury my whole life. Nobody would let me on because I was a lawyer. And I didn’t take it personally. But that’s accepted wisdom of not having someone on the jury who may be in a position to, A, second guess you and, B, carry perhaps special influence into the deliberations of the jury because of the legal training. And her involvement in immigration criminal defense certainly suggests a special interest and sensitivity that, for purposes of a peremptory challenge, is facially neutral."

One the upside, you're a lawyer who's been to law school.  On the downside, lots of people won't let you sit on a jury.

Or is that another upside?