NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc (LDF) Senior Counsel, Chris Kemmitt, argued before the California Supreme Court in the capital case State v. Miles. The trial in this case occurred shortly after the well-publicized O.J. Simpson trial, and the prosecutor used a question about whether prospective jurors were upset about the verdict in Mr. Simpson’s case as a basis for striking jurors in Mr. Miles’s case.
The question itself was an impermissible proxy for race discrimination given the time of this trial and the racially polarizing nature of Mr. Simpson’s trial. The prosecutor deployed the question in a discriminatory manner. In striking two prospective Black jurors, the prosecutor asserted that he was striking jurors “across the board” who indicated they were not upset by the Simpson verdict. But that was not true. The prosecutor did not strike prospective white jurors who indicated they too were not upset by the question.
Watch Chris Kemmitt’s full argument here: