Brian Wilson


It cannot be denied that our jury selection process has lent itself to invidious racial discrimination in the selection of jurors who ultimately decide the black defendant's guilt or innocence. This practice manifested itself in a line of decisions, beginning with Strauder v. West Virginia. The Strauder Court held that excluding qualified venirepersons on the basis of race violated the fourteenth amendment. However, the Supreme Court's refusal in Swain v. Alabama to subject petit jury peremptory challenges to constitutional scrutiny spawned much criticism from courts and commentators. As a result, the Court in Batson v. Kentucky decided to re-examine the role the peremptory challenge plays in exacting justice between the State and the accused.