An African American defendant, who was charged in a state trial court with bank robbery, objected to the prosecutor’s use of peremptory challenges to excuse three black men from the jury panel.
The prosecutor explained that he excused the first juror because the juror had long unkempt hair, a mustache, and a beard. The prosecutor then said that he excluded the second juror because the juror had a mustache and a beard. Finally, the prosecutor said that he excused the third juror because of the location of the juror’s residence in an area of the city that was noted for poor school attendance, and that the juror was not presently employed.
The trial court overruled the defendant’s objection, impaneled the jury, and convicted the defendant of robbery. On appeal, the defendant raises the issue that his Batson challenge should be upheld and his conviction overturned.
My question is what standards should the appellate court rely upon in deciding this issue? And how should the appellate court rule?