California Lawyer


December 2013

"[I]t is a troubling reality, rooted in history and social context, that our black citizens are generally more skeptical about the fairness of our criminal justice system than other citizens."

-California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu, concurring in People v. Harris (54 Cal. 4th 804, 866 (2013)), which upheld a rape and murder conviction on the ground that the defendant failed to prove prosecutors discriminated against him during jury selection. Liu cautioned that the court's earlier jurisprudence on the issue was "out of step" with principles set forth by the U.S. Supreme Court. Liu criticized his colleagues for "improperly" rebuffing jury challenges in other cases by "scouring the record for non-obvious reasons that might explain the peremptory strike of a minority juror."

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