Does Batson Apply In Civil Cases ?
In Edmonson v. Leesville Concrete Co., 500 U.S. 614, 114 L. Ed. 2d 660, 111 S. Ct. 2077 (1991), the United States Supreme Court held that the reasoning of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 90 L. Ed. 2d 69, 106 S. Ct. 1712 (1986), which prohibited the exercise of racially motivated peremptory strikes in criminal cases, applies to civil cases. See Edmonson, 500 U.S. at 630; see also Powers v. Palacios, 813 S.W.2d 489, 491 (Tex. 1991); Price v. Short, 931 S.W.2d 677, 680 (Tex. App.-Dallas 1996, no writ).
To invoke the protections of Edmonson, however, a party must first raise an inference of purposeful discrimination, and the trial court must determine that a prima facie case of discrimination exists. Price, 931 S.W.2d at 680.
A party establishes a prima facie case by presenting facts, as well as other relevant circumstances, that raise an inference that the peremptory strike was used to exclude a venire member on the basis of race. See id.; see also Keeton v. State, 724 S.W.2d 58, 65 (Tex. Crim. App. 1987) (op. on reh'g).
Once a prima facie case is established, the burden shifts to the proponent of the strike to present a race-neutral explanation for the strike. See Purkett v. Elem, 514 U.S. 765, 767, 131 L. Ed. 2d 834, 115 S. Ct. 1769 (1995) (per curiam); Keeton, 724 S.W.2d at 65. An explanation is race neutral if it is based on something other than the juror's race. See Goode v. Shoukfeh, 943 S.W.2d 441, 445 (Tex. 1997).
According to the Supreme Court, the explanation need not be otherwise persuasive or even plausible. See Purkett, 514 U.S. at 767-68.
Once a race-neutral explanation is tendered, the burden shifts back to the complaining party to show the explanation was really a sham or pretext for purposeful discrimination.
If the trial court determines the strike was racially motivated, it may in its discretion place the wrongfully struck venire member on the jury panel. See Price, 931 S.W.2d at 680-81; see also State ex rel. Curry v. Bowman, 885 S.W.2d 421, 425 (Tex. Crim. App. 1993) (orig. proceeding), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 866, 115 S. Ct. 184, 130 L. Ed. 2d 118 (1994).