What is the ”Batson 3 Part Test” ?

What is the ''Batson 3 Part Test'' ?

In Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), the U.S. Supreme Court outlined a three-step process for evaluating claims that a prosecutor has used peremptory challenges in a manner violating the Equal Protection Clause. 476 U.S., at 96-98.

The analysis set forth in Batson permits prompt rulings on objections to peremptory challenges without substantial disruption of the jury selection process.

(1) First, the defendant must make a prima facie showing that the prosecutor has exercised peremptory challenges on the basis of race. Id., at 96-97.

(2) Second, if the requisite showing has been made, the burden shifts to the prosecutor to articulate a race-neutral explanation for striking the jurors in question. Id., at 97-98.

(3) Finally, the trial court must determine whether the defendant has carried his burden of proving purposeful discrimination. Id., at 98.

In that case, Batson, the defendant who complained that black persons were being excluded from his petit jury, was himself black. During the voir dire examination of the venire for Batson's trial, the prosecutor used his peremptory challenges to strike all four black persons on the venire, resulting in a petit jury composed only of white persons.

Batson's counsel moved without success to discharge the jury before it was empaneled on the ground that the prosecutor's removal of black venirepersons violated his rights under the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments.

In Batson we held that a defendant can raise an equal protection challenge to the use of peremptories at his own trial by showing that the prosecutor used them for the purpose of excluding members of the defendant's race. Id., at 96.

In Batson v. Kentucky, the U.S. Supreme Court held that "a `pattern' of strikes against black jurors included in the particular venire might give rise to an inference of discrimination" sufficient to satisfy the defendant's burden of proving an equal protection violation. Id., at 97. "Once the defendant makes a prima facie showing, the burden shifts to the State to come forward with a neutral explanation." Ibid.

If the prosecutor offers no explanation, the defendant has succeeded in establishing an equal protection violation based on the evidence of invidious intent that gave rise to the prima facie case. If the prosecutor seeks to dispel the inference of discriminatory intent, in order to succeed his explanation "need not rise to the level justifying exercise of a challenge for cause." Ibid.

However, the prosecutor's justification must identify "`legitimate reasons'" that are "related to the particular case to be tried" and sufficiently persuasive to "rebut a defendant's prima facie case." Id., at 98, and n. 20.