NEW PRECEDENT

SCOTUS: Racially Biased Juries Have No Secrecy

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday in a 5-3 decision that racially or ethnically biased juries do not have a right to secrecy in deliberations. Justice Anthony Kennedy joined forces with the four liberal justices—Elena Kagan, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. “The nation must continue to make strides to overcome race-based discrimination,” Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion. “The progress that has already been made underlies the court’s insistence that blatant racial prejudice is antithetical to the functioning of the jury system and must be confronted in egregious cases.” The minority opinion, authored by Justice Samuel Alito, argued that the ruling was an injust violation of jurors’ privacy. In the case Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado, a juror justified his or her decision in a sexual assault trial by saying: “I think he did it because he’s Mexican, and Mexican men take whatever they want.”