- Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
- Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
- Date Filed: 10-17-2022
- Case #: 17-99009
- Judge(s)/Court Below: Christen, J. for the Court; Bumatay, J.; Ikuta, J.
- Full Text Opinion
After being found guilty of murder and sentenced to death, Petitioner appealed to the California Supreme Court, bringing among others, a Batson claim that the prosecutor’s preemptory challenges of three prospective Hispanic jurors violated Petitioner’s right of Equal Protection under the 14th Amendment. The California Supreme Court determined that the Petitioner had not made a prima facie case for racial bias under the first prong in the Batson claim analysis and denied Petitioner’s habeas corpus petition. To establish a prima facie case at Step One of a Batson analysis, Defendant bares the burden to show: (1) they are a member of a cognizable group; (2) the prosecutor removed members of that group; and (3) the totality of the circumstances gives rise to an inference that the prosecutor excluded jurors based on race. United States v. Esparza-Gonzalez, 422 F.3d 897, 904 (9th Cir. 2005). Petitioner appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the California Supreme Court’s ruling on Petitioner's Batson claim was an unreasonable application of precedent. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision to deny Petitioner’s habeas corpus petition. The Court reasoned that although the California Supreme Court unreasonably apply Johnson by using the trial court record to find race neutral grounds for the prosecutor’s preemptory strike, based on the record Petitioner still failed to meet the step one standard under Batson to show an inference of discrimination. Therefore, denial of Petitioner’s habeas corpus petition is appropriate. AFFIRMED.