Washington v. Tesfasilasye (Majority)Annotate this Case
As part of an effort to reduce racial bias in the judicial system, the Washington Supreme Court enacted GR 37, which directed trial judges to deny a peremptory challenge when an objective observer could view race as a factor in its use. Over GR 37 objections, two potential jurors, both people of color, were struck from the jury in this case. The jury found Tesfasilasye guilty of third degree rape. He was sentenced to 12 months in jail. Tesfasilasye appealed, alleging, among other things, that an objective observer could have viewed race as a factor for striking Juror 25 and juror 3 as prohibited by GR 37. The Supreme Court, after a review of the trial court record, determined an objective observer could view race as a factor for striking both juror 25 and juror 3. Tesfasilasye asked the Court to reverse his conviction, and the State did not dispute that the remedy for a GR 37 violation. Accordingly, the Court reversed the Court of Appeals and remanded for a new trial.