A Jury of our Peers: Peremptory Challenges after AB 3070
This program focuses on a recently-enacted California law, AB 3070, which seeks to reduce racial and other bias in jury selection. The impetus for the law, modeled on similar legislation in the State of Washington, was the concern among legislators that, despite existing prohibitions on racial discrimination in jury selection (as set forth in Batson v. Kentucky (1986) 476 U.S. 79) criminal prosecutors regularly use peremptory challenges to dismiss black jurors for reasons defense attorneys and other critics of the process find suspect. AB 3070 is intended to strengthen the Batson protections against the perceived misuse of peremptory challenges. The program consisted of two acts in the style of TV show episodes. Act 1 was presented as an episode of a public affairs talk show, “The Stern View,” in which the no-nonsense moderator, Jane Stern, explained the essential elements of AB 3070 to the audience and interviewed guests with strongly opposing views of the new law: A progressive political activist versus a conservative district attorney, and then a deputy D.A. versus a public defender. With each character giving slightly exaggerated views of their fears and concerns about the others’ positions, the show gave a humorous but still realistic context for the controversy over the law, with the intention of sparking spirited discussion among Inn members in the moderation that followed.

Presented By: The Anthony M. Kennedy American Inn of Court (30048)

Presented: February, 2021

Topic Areas: Legal Skills, Professionalism and Legal Bias, DEI

Materials: Script, Citations of Law, Handouts, Video

CLE Approval: Approved

State: California

Hours: 1.5

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