March 6, 2019
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
from the Superior Court of the District of Columbia,
(CF2-7680-16), (Hon. José M. López, Trial
Williams, Public Defender Service, with whom Samia Fam and
Jaclyn Frankfurt, Public Defender Service, were on the brief,
R. Howland, Assistant United States Attorney, with whom
Jessie K. Liu, United States Attorney, and Elizabeth Trosman,
Suzanne Grealy Curt, and Lauren Bressack, Assistant United
States Attorneys, were on the brief, for appellee.
Fisher, Easterly, and McLeese, Associate Judges.
Delonte Haney appeals his convictions for various
weapon-related offenses, arguing that the trial court erred
in ruling that he had not established a prima facie case of
discrimination in the governments exercise of peremptory
strikes. See Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S.
79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69 (1986). We reverse and
remand for a new trial.
I. Background and Procedural History
a jury trial from January 17 through January 23, 2017,
appellant Haney was found guilty of Counts II through V:
carrying a pistol without a license; possession of an
unregistered firearm; unlawful possession of ammunition; and
possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device.
Judge José M. López thereafter found appellant
guilty of Count I, unlawful possession of a firearm by a
person previously convicted of a crime of
violence. Appellant was sentenced to serve
seventy-two months of incarceration and five years of
supervised release, and to pay various assessments to the
Victims of Violent Crime Compensation Fund. This appeal
presents a claim of discrimination in jury selection based on
race and gender as defense counsel objected that the
governments peremptory strikes disproportionately excluded
black jurors and black male jurors.
beginning of jury selection the venire consisted of
fifty-four potential jurors.
According to the trial transcript, the list of peremptory
strikes, and a stipulation between the parties based on the
trial attorneys notes, twenty-five of the potential
fifty-four jurors (or 46%) were black. During this phase,
the trial court asked potential jurors a list of questions,
including an inquiry about any biases or strong feelings in
favor of or against police. Responses tended to be racially
divided - black jurors more frequently expressed distrust of
the police while white jurors more frequently tended to
believe that police testimony was trustworthy. After
individual questioning fourteen jurors were stricken for
cause, eight of whom were black. The parties then began to
exercise peremptory strikes.
A. Peremptory Strikes
strikes for cause, forty jurors were qualified for jury
service but only the first thirty-six jurors were needed.
This group of thirty-six contained fourteen black jurors
(39%). The court instructed that the first fourteen jurors
would fill the box, each party would exercise peremptory
strikes two at a time until four strikes had been exercised,
those stricken would be excused, and the empty seats in the
jury box would be filled with jurors from the panel. Passes
would be counted as ...