• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court held that prosecutors cannot use peremptory challenges to exclude African Americans from juries in criminal trials.

Justice Anthony M. KennedyKennedy, Anthony M.;Powers v. Ohio[Powers v. Ohio] wrote the opinion for the 7-2 majority, holding that prosecutors cannot attempt to pack the jury with jurors racially satisfactory to themselves by using peremptory challenges in jury selection in criminal cases. Kennedy held that this was true even if the accused and the excluded juror were of the same race. The past practice of allowing the use of peremptory challenges affected not only the defendant’s right to a fair trial but also the excluded juror’s right to participate in the administration of justice. The defendant further was entitled to raise the excluded juror’s right at trial. Dissenting, Justice Antonin Scalia argued that this decision was illogical, freeing a guilty defendant based on the fact that some other person’s abstract right to participate in the judicial process was denied.African Americans;juries[juries]African Americans;juries[juries]Discrimination, race;Powers v. Ohio[Powers v. Ohio]Jury composition and size;Powers v. Ohio[Powers v. Ohio]African Americans;juries[juries]

Due process, procedural

Jury, trial by

Jury composition and size

Race and discrimination

Categories: History