In criminal cases, whether a defendant is found guilty typically hinges on the jury’s perception of them and the facts presented at trial. Thus, it is critical that the jury is comprised of impartial people who represent the defendant’s peers. If the prosecution uses a preemptory strike against a juror for impermissible reasons, therefore, it may violate the defendant’s constitutional rights. Recently, a Florida court discussed preemptory strikes of jurors in criminal matters in a case in which the defendant was convicted of murder and other crimes. If you are accused of murder or another violent offense, it is critical that you engage the services of a Tampa criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible.
Factual and Procedural Background of the Case
It is reported that the defendant and accomplices robbed a pawn shop and then fled from the police. The defendant ultimately entered the victim’s home and then drove the victim’s car through the garage door. The police arrested the defendant and then found the two victims murdered within the home.
The defendant was charged with multiple offenses, including two counts of first-degree murder. During the selection of jurors, the state used one of its preemptory strikes to remove a juror who, like the defendant, was black. The defendant’s attorney stated that the state’s reason for striking the juror was not sufficiently race-neutral. The defendant was convicted as charged. He then appealed. Continue Reading ›