Sexual Orientation Is No Basis for Jury Exclusion, a Federal Appeals Court Rules

When juries are selected, attorneys are permitted to exclude a specific number of juror candidates without providing the reason why. In 1986, the Supreme Court made an exception for race, requiring attorneys to provide an explanation unrelated to race. The exclusion was extended to gender in 1994. The Supreme Court has never considered the question of strikes based upon sexual orientation. In January, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (San Francisco, CA) became the first federal appeals court to bar strikes based upon sexual orientation. Judge Reinhardt stated that, “Permitting a strike based on sexual orientation would send the false message that gays and lesbians could not be trusted to reason fairly on issues of great import to the community or the nation.” The Ninth Circuit decision conflicts with a 2005 decision from the federal appeals court in St. Louis, making it more likely that the Supreme Court will review the case.

Read the NY Times Article by Adam Liptak here. . .

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