Exclusion of African Americans from the Jury Panel In Missouri

When prosecutors use their peremptory challenges to strike African- Americans from the jury panel, a Batson challenge frequently results. The burden is placed upon a prosecutor to give a racially neutral reason for the strike. State v. Jones, 979 S.W.2d 171, 185 (Mo. banc 1998). Accepted racially neutral reasons may include that a juror seemed "uncommunicative," or "never cracked a smile." Batson, 476 U.S. at 106, (Marshall, concurring opinion). If such reasons are sufficient to justify the prosecutor's strikes, then the protection of Batson is illusory, just as Justice Marshall predicted. Id. Moreover, the question of race may be inextricably bound up in other attributes of a prospective juror, employment status, for example, that may justify the strike.