Matthews v. StateAnnotate this Case
The Supreme Court reversed Defendant's conviction, holding that, based on the record, it was more likely than not that the State used a peremptory challenge for impermissible reasons in violation of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), necessitating a new trial.
Defendant faced multiple charges related to a shooting. During jury selection, the State exercised one of its peremptory challenges to remove an African-American veniremember. Defendant made a Batson objection claiming that the peremptory challenge was based on the juror's race. The district court summarily overruled the objection without making any specific findings or explaining its reasoning. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of conviction, holding (1) the record belied the State's nondemeanor explanations for using a peremptory challenge on the juror, indicating that the explanations were pretextual; and (2) because the district court did not fully engage in the inquiry and consideration required at step three in the Batson analysis, the court clearly erred in denying Defendant's Batson objection.