Bar Bulletin

Bar Bulletin

Facing the Reality of Racial Bias: Supreme Court Rewrites State's Batson Standard

September 2017 Bar Bulletin

By Gene Barton

The Washington Supreme Court’s July 6 decision in City of Seattle v. Erickson will effect a sea change in the manner in which peremptory challenges will be reviewed when the result is excusing a minority member of the venire when a minority defendant is on trial.

As a unanimous Court stated, “We amend our Batson framework and hold that the peremptory strike of a juror who is the only member of a cognizable racial group constitutes a prima facie showing of racial discrimination requiring a full Batson analysis by the trial court.”1

The first paragraph of the Court’s...

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