Swain v. Alabama 380 U.S. 202 (1965)

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SWAIN v. ALABAMA 380 U.S. 202 (1965)

A 6–3 Court, speaking through Justice byron r. white, rejected the claim of a black defendant to proportional representation of his race on grand and petit juries. Although blacks were substantially underrepresented on the jury panel, and although the prosecutor had used his peremptory challenges to exclude blacks in this case (there had been eight blacks on the venire), the Court found no evidence on the record of purposeful discrimination. The Court hinted that systematic use of peremptory challenges to exclude blacks from all juries would be unconstitutional, but it said that the record in Swain failed to show such systematic discrimination. In batson v. kentucky (1986) the Court partially overruled Swain, holding that a prosecutor cannot constitutionally use peremptory challenges to exclude potential jurors solely on account of their race.

Dennis J. Mahoney

(see also: Jury Discrimination.)

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Swain v. Alabama 380 U.S. 202 (1965)

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