What Does ''Strike a Jury'' Mean ?
A prima facie case is "that minimum quantity of evidence necessary to support a rational inference that the allegation of purposeful discrimination is true." Harris v. Sate, 827 S.W.2d 949, 955 n.4 (Tex. Crim. App. 1992).
The party challenging the strike is entitled to rely on the fact that peremptory challenges permit discrimination by one who has a mind to discriminate and must show that this fact, coupled with other relevant circumstances, raises an inference of the discriminatory exercise of peremptory strikes. Harris, 827 S.W.2d at 955 (citing Batson, 476 U.S. at 96); Held, 948 S.W.2d at 48.
As the party with the burden of proof, the challenging party is required to produce evidence to avoid a finding that the allegation of purposeful discrimination is not true as a matter of law. Dewberry v. State, 776 S.W.2d 589, 590 (Tex. Crim. App.1989); Held, 948 S.W.2d at 48.
In deciding whether the requisite prima facie showing has been made, all relevant circumstances should be considered. Harris, 827 S.W.2d at 955 (citing Batson, 476 U.S. at 96-97); Held, 948 S.W.2d at 48 Judges at all levels must "frankly assess" the legitimate inferences to be drawn from the evidence made available to them. Linscomb v. State, 829 S.W.2d 164, 166 (Tex. Crim. App.1992);
Held, 948 S.W.2d at 48. the trial judge, however, is in the best position to determine whether the circumstances are sufficient to raise a prima facie case that a strike against a given veniremember was racially motivated. Held, 948 S.W.2d at 48; Muhammad v. State, 846 S.W.2d 432, 435 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1992, pet. ref'd).
That trial judge "has an opportunity to observe the makeup of the panel, the questions asked each veniremember, the unspoken reactions of the attorneys and the potential jurors, the manner in which the other strikes were exercised, and countless other factors." Held, 948 S.W.2d at 48.
The United States Supreme Court has expressed its "confidence that trial judges, experienced in supervising voir dire, will be able to decide if the circumstances . . . create a prima facie case of discrimination." Batson, 476 U.S. at 97.
Thus, we will afford deference to the trial court's judgment and review the record in the light most favorable to the trial court's ruling, and we will not disturb that ruling unless we find it to be clearly erroneous. See Adanandus v. State, 866 S.W.2d 210, 224 (Tex. Crim. App. 1993); Williams, 804 S.W.2d at 101; Held, 948 S.W.2d at 49.
Cases in which courts have found that a prima facie case was established on the basis of a single strike invariably also have involved the complete exclusion of a particular race or a racial identity between the defendant and the excluded veniremember. See, e.g., Salazar v. State, 795 S.W.2d 187, 193 (Tex. Crim. App. 1990); Godine v. State, 874 S.W.2d 197, 203 (Tex. App.-Houston [14th Dist.] 1994, no pet.).