Ross v. CommonwealthAnnotate this Case
After a jury trial, Defendant was convicted of murder and first-degree arson. The trial court sentenced Defendant to life imprisonment for each conviction, to be served concurrently. Before trial, the Commonwealth used seven if its nine peremptory challenges to remove women from the venire. Defendant made a Batson motion challenging the Commonwealth’s use of its peremptory challenges. The trial court concluded that the Commonwealth’s proffered rationales were gender neutral and nonpretextual. The Supreme Court reversed Defendant’s convictions, holding that the trial court abused its discretion in denying Defendant’s Batson challenge and impermissibly allowed the Commonwealth to use its peremptory challenges to dismiss female jurors on the basis of gender.