Neil Inquiry Florida
In State v. Neil, 457 So. 2d 481 (Fla.1984), the supreme court established a procedure for the trial court to follow when the issue of race-motivated peremptory challenges arises.
Since Neil, the procedure has evolved and is now established as:
"A party objecting to the other side's use of a peremptory challenge on racial grounds must:
a) make a timely objection on that basis;
b) show that the venireperson is a member of a distinct racial group, and c) request that the court ask the striking party its reason for the strike." Harrison v. Emanuel, 694 So. 2d 759, 760 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997).
If these requirements are met, the court must ask the proponent of the strike to explain the reason for the strike.
The burden then shifts to the proponent of the strike to come forward with a race-neutral explanation.
If the explanation is facially race-neutral, and the court believes that the explanation is not a pretext, the strike will be sustained.
The court's focus is not on the reasonableness of the explanation, but rather its genuineness.
Throughout this process, the burden of persuasion never leaves the opponent of the strike to prove purposeful racial discrimination. See id. (citing Melbourne v. State, 679 So. 2d 759, 764 (Fla. 1996)).
A Neil inquiry is required when an objection is raised that a peremptory challenge is being used in a racially discriminatory manner. See State v. Johans, 613 So. 2d 1319, 1321 (Fla. 1993) (holding "from this time forward a Neil inquiry is required when an objection is raised that a peremptory challenge is being used in a racially discriminatory manner").