U.S. v. Heron

Federal 7th Circuit Court
Criminal Court
Peremptory Challenge
Case Number: 
No. 11-3471
Decision Date: 
July 15, 2013
Federal District: 
S.D. Ill.
In prosecution on drug distribution charge, defendant forfeited issue alleging that prosecutor violated Batson by using peremptory challenge to strike juror on basis of her religious commitment when defense counsel failed to properly preserve issue for review. Batson covers only use of peremptory challenges based on either race or gender, and defendant otherwise failed to specifically state to Dist. Ct. that he was raising Batson challenge based on juror’s religion. Also, while defense counsel mentioned juror’s religion when challenging govt. use of its peremptory challenge, he did so in context of asserting that actual motivation of prosecutor was based on juror’s race. Moreover, defendant could not prevail on any plain error standard where prosecutor’s religious commitment explanation was paired with another neutral factor that would not have posed Batson problem if raised on its own.