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Judges reverse convictions due to Batson challenge error

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A Marion County trial court erred when it overruled a man’s Batson challenge contesting the state’s use of a peremptory challenge to strike an African-American juror, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Wednesday. The appeals court overturned Tyrece Robertson’s convictions and ordered a new trial.

Robertson was charged with Class D felony attempted residential entry and Class B misdemeanor criminal mischief after allegedly trying to break into an apartment. During jury selection at his trial, the state used peremptory strikes to remove several potential jurors from the venier, including juror Lisenbee, who is African-American. Robertson raised a Batson challenge, which was overruled. Robertson was found guilty as charged.

“Both parties acknowledge that, in this case, neither Robertson nor the State had an opportunity to conduct voir dire of the other African-American member of the venire. Because the trial court did not move to the second step in the Batson analysis — requiring the State to present a facially race-neutral reason for using a peremptory strike — the court did not conclude that Robertson had established a prima facie case of discrimination,” Judge L. Mark Bailey wrote in Tyrece Robertson v. State of Indiana, 49A05-1310-CR-487. “Yet, as Robertson points out, the only African-American juror that was subject to voir dire — Venireperson Lisenbee — was stricken from the jury. Thus, for all intents and purposes, the State used its peremptory challenges to strike the only African-American member of the venire.”

As such, Robertson’s rights under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution were violated, the judges ruled, so he should be retried.

 

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  1. I will be filing a lawsuit in Tippecanoe County for so many violations in a case we became involved in, including failure to contact through mail, Violation of 4th Amendment rights, Violation of Civil Rights, and so on. Even the Indiana Ombudsmen Bureau found violations and I have now received the report and they are demanding further training in Tippecanoe County. I am going to make sure they follow through!!!

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  3. I thought the purpose of the criminal justice center was to consolidate all the criminal services and get them out of downtown to clean up the place. Why in the HELL are the civil courts moving? What a burden to all the downtown law firms. Now we all get to work downtown, but then have to get in a car and COMMUTE to court? Who approved this idiocy?

  4. I drive through the neighborhood whenever I go to the City-County Building or the Federal Courthouse. The surrounding streets are all two way with only two lanes of traffic, and traffic is very slow during rush hour. I hope that enough money has been allocated to allow for improvement of the surrounding streets.

  5. I have had an ongoing custody case for 6 yrs. I should have been the sole legal custodial parent but was a victim of a vindictive ex and the system biasedly supported him. He is an alcoholic and doesn't even have a license for two yrs now after his 2nd DUI. Fast frwd 6 yrs later my kids are suffering poor nutritional health, psychological issues, failing in school, have NO MD and the GAL could care less, DCS doesn't care. The child isn't getting his ADHD med he needs and will not succeed in life living this way. NO one will HELP our family.I tried for over 6 yrs. The judge called me an idiot for not knowing how to enter evidence and the last hearing was 8 mths ago. That in itself is unjust! The kids want to be with their Mother! They are being alienated from her and fed lies by their Father! I was hit in a car accident 3 yrs ago and am declared handicapped myself. Poor poor way to treat the indigent in Indiana!

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