State v. JohnsonAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court quashed the decision of the Fourth District Court of Appeal, holding that the party opposing a peremptory strike must make a specific objection to the proponent's proffered race-neutral reason for the strike, if the strike is contested, to preserve a claim that the trial court erred in concluding that the proffered reason was genuine.
At issue was the proper procedure for preserving a challenge to the trial court's determination that the facially race-neutral reason proffered by the proponent of a peremptory strike was genuine under step three of Melbourne v. State, 679 So. 2d 759 (Fla. 1996). During the voir dire proceedings in Defendant's case, Defendant objected to the State's peremptory strike as to a prospective African-American juror but never argued that the State's proffered explanation was not genuine. The Fourth District reversed and remanded for a new trial, concluding that the trial court had failed to demonstrate compliance with the duty to determine the genuineness of the proffered race-neutral reason. The Supreme Court quashed the Fourth District's decision, holding that because Defendant did not make a specific objection to the State's proffered facially race-neutral reason for the strike Defendant failed to preserve his challenge to the trial court's step three genuineness determination.