U.S. Supreme Court Strikes Down Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection

[Editor’s note: Emily Coward, the author of today’s post, is an attorney who works with the indigent defense education team at the School of Government. She is a co-author of Raising Issues of Race in North Carolina Criminal Cases.]

In Foster v. Chatman, a 7-1 opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, the U.S. Supreme Court held that prosecutors in Georgia discriminated on the basis of race during jury selection in a 1987 death penalty trial. This post explains the ruling and considers its impact on Batson challenges in North Carolina.

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A national, empirical study of defenses found that the defense of entrapment arose in just 0.08% of cases, usually “to little avail.” Stephen G. Valdes, Frequency and Success: An Empirical Study of Criminal Law Defenses, Federal Constitutional Evidentiary Claims, and Plea Negotiations, 153 U. Penn. L. Rev. 1709, 1716 (2005). But every now and again, … Read more

The Fourth Circuit Chastises the Government

The Fourth Circuit recently decided a very interesting case with a lot of North Carolina connections. The case is United States v. Foster, and it’s available here. The facts were as follows. A police officer in Henderson, North Carolina was eating lunch at a restaurant with his wife. As he left the restaurant, he saw … Read more