Brown v. State, No. 49S00-0004-CR-256.

Docket NºNo. 49S00-0004-CR-256.
Citation751 N.E.2d 664
Case DateJuly 19, 2001
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

751 N.E.2d 664

Douglas BROWN, Appellant (Defendant below),
v.
STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff below)

No. 49S00-0004-CR-256.

Supreme Court of Indiana.

July 19, 2001.


751 N.E.2d 666
Katherine A. Cornelius, Indianapolis, IN, Attorney for Appellant

Karen Freeman-Wilson, Attorney General of Indiana, Adam M. Dulik, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, IN, Attorneys for Appellee.

751 N.E.2d 665
SULLIVAN, Justice

Defendant Douglas Brown was convicted of murder for shooting another man to death. In affirming his conviction, we agree with the trial court that the prosecution offered sufficient race-neutral justifications for peremptorily excluding two potential African-American jurors; that Defendant was provided with his statutory right to consult with his father; and that there was no evidence to support instructing the jury on voluntary manslaughter.

Background

The facts most favorable to the verdict show that on December 26, 1998, Defendant shot one Porter Moore outside an Indianapolis home from which Moore sold

751 N.E.2d 667
drugs. That evening, Moore drove to the house with some friends and went inside while his companions remained in the car. Soon after Moore went into the house, Defendant and another man approached the occupants of Moore's car and asked where they could find a friend of Defendant's named Roosevelt Caruthers. Moore's friends replied in a rude manner. Defendant later told police that he had witnessed Caruthers argue with several of Moore's associates at the house earlier in the day. Defendant told police he came to the house in order to find Caruthers

After his confrontation with the occupants of the car, Defendant walked towards the house. At this time, Moore left the house and passed by Defendant. Defendant made a comment to Moore about the occupants of the car, to which Moore made no reply. This lack of response apparently insulted Defendant. He cocked a gun, pointed it at Moore, and pulled the trigger. The gun misfired. Defendant later told police that Moore's eyes bulged like he was angry or scared. Moore then dove into his car. Defendant fired again, this time striking Moore in the face and killing him.

Defendant was charged with Murder1 and Carrying a Handgun without a License.2 A jury convicted him on both counts and the trial court sentenced him to 60 years on the murder charge and 365 days for the handgun offense, which was to be served concurrently with the murder sentence.

Discussion

I

Defendant argues that his conviction must be reversed because the prosecutor made what he contends were racially-based peremptory challenges in violation of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69 (1986). Batson held that a State denies a "defendant equal protection of the laws when it puts him on trial before a jury from which members of his race have been purposefully excluded." Id. at 85, 106 S.Ct. 1712. For that reason, a litigant may not use peremptory challenges "to exclude potential jurors from serving solely because of race." Williams v. State, 700 N.E.2d 784, 786 (Ind.1998). See also Willoughby v. State, 660 N.E.2d 570, 578 (Ind.1996) ("Race-based peremptory challenges are a form of racial discrimination which the State cannot condone.").

To contest an opposing party's use of peremptory challenges under Batson, a litigant must "establish a prima facie case of racial discrimination." Lee v. State, 689 N.E.2d 435, 440-41 (Ind.1997), reh'g denied. The moving party will make out such a prima facie case by showing "(1) that the prosecutor used peremptory strikes to remove members of a cognizable racial group from the jury pool; and (2) that the facts and circumstances raise an inference that the prosecutor used those strikes to exclude potential jury members from the jury because of their race." Williams, 700 N.E.2d at 786. Once the moving party establishes this prima facie case, the burden of production shifts to the non-moving party, who must "provide a race-neutral explanation for challenging [a] juror." McCants v. State, 686 N.E.2d 1281, 1284 (Ind.1997). This "second step of [the Batson ] process does not demand an explanation that is persuasive, or even plausible ...." Purkett v. Elem, 514 U.S. 765, 768, 115 S.Ct. 1769, 131 L.Ed.2d 834 (1995) (per curium). Instead, the prosecutor must provide a facially

751 N.E.2d 668
valid explanation for the use of the peremptory challenge and "`[u]nless a discriminatory intent is inherent in the prosecutor's explanation, the reason offered will be deemed race neutral.'" Id. at 768, 115 S.Ct. 1769 (quoting Hernandez v. New York, 500 U.S. 352, 360, 111 S.Ct. 1859, 114 L.Ed.2d 395 (1991) (plurality opinion)). Although the burden of production shifts to the non-moving party to present a facially valid reason for the peremptory challenge, the moving party retains the overall burden of proof to establish "purposeful discrimination." Id.

Defendant claims the State violated these principles by using peremptory challenges to remove two black women from the jury.3 The trial court concluded that Defendant made a prima facie case that the challenges were based on race and the State does not contest this conclusion. See Appellee's Br. at 6-8. The trial court then accepted the State's explanations for both challenges, which Defendant contends was error. Therefore, we must determine whether the trial court could conclude that the State offered facially valid race-neutral reasons for the challenges.

First, Defendant contests the exclusion of potential juror Chandra Sherrell. The State contends that it had a race-neutral reason for challenging this potential juror in that she indicated that she would have trouble judging credibility and therefore would hold the State to a high burden of proof. See Appellee's Br. at 8 (citing Supp. R. at 122.) The State points to the potential juror's statements during voir dire to the effect that she "wasn't prepared to judge anybody" and that she "couldn't possibly be sure a hundred percent that someone was guilty or not guilty." Appellee's Br. at 8 (citing Supp. R. at 110-11.) Further, the potential juror said that she would have trouble gauging credibility and that she "wouldn't feel comfortable deciding who's guilty and who's not guilty." (Supp. R. at 111-13.) Therefore, the potential juror said, the State's proof "would have to be a strong thing, without a shadow of a doubt ...." (Supp. R. at 112.)4 It is evident from these statements that the potential juror believed that she would have difficulty judging credibility, and that she would favor Defendant to compensate for this perceived deficiency. The State therefore presented a valid race-neutral reason for removing the potential juror from the panel.

Second, Defendant challenges the removal of potential juror Catherine Reynolds. The State contends that it used a peremptory challenge on this potential juror because she "said that she would rather not be a juror because she had a niece who was killed by her niece's son." Appellee's Br. at 7 (citing Supp. R. at 72.) During voir dire, the State asked the potential juror for her thoughts on the jury selection process. The potential juror replied that she would rather not sit on the jury because her grandnephew had killed her niece, who was a police officer. She stated that she would have personal difficulty sitting on the panel, as she did when she had

751 N.E.2d 669
served on a previous jury. While it is clear that the potential juror believed that she had a bias and should not serve on the jury, it is unclear whether this bias cut for or against the State. The trial...

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15 practice notes
  • D.M. v. State , No. 49S02–1101–JV–11.
    • United States
    • June 22, 2011
    ...of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the juvenile received all of the protections of Indiana Code section 31–32–5–1, Brown v. State, 751 N.E.2d 664, 670 (Ind.2001), and that both the juvenile and his or her parent knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived the juvenile's rights,1......
  • Hardister v. State, No. 49S05-0507-CR-319.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • June 28, 2006
    ...group from the jury pool and that the facts and circumstances raise an inference that the removal was because of race. Brown v. State, 751 N.E.2d 664, 667 (Ind.2001) (citing Williams v. State, 700 N.E.2d 784, 786 (Ind.1998)). Only after a prima facie showing is made does the burden shift to......
  • Lindsey v. State, No. 29A02-0902-CR-196.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • November 9, 2009
    ...valid and no discriminatory intent is inherent in the explanation, the reason offered will be deemed race-neutral. Brown v. State, 751 N.E.2d 664, 667-68 (Ind.2001). Finally, the trial court must then decide whether the party making the Batson challenge has carried its burden of proving pur......
  • Boney v. State, No. 22A01-0607-CR-310.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • January 29, 2008
    ..."must only be related to the case and constitute a valid race-neutral reason for striking the juror in question." See Brown v. State, 751 N.E.2d 664, 668-69 (Ind.2001) (approving the State's decision to strike an African American juror whose niece had been killed by her grand-nephew, reason......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
15 cases
  • D.M. v. State , No. 49S02–1101–JV–11.
    • United States
    • June 22, 2011
    ...of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the juvenile received all of the protections of Indiana Code section 31–32–5–1, Brown v. State, 751 N.E.2d 664, 670 (Ind.2001), and that both the juvenile and his or her parent knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waived the juvenile's rights,1......
  • Hardister v. State, No. 49S05-0507-CR-319.
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • June 28, 2006
    ...group from the jury pool and that the facts and circumstances raise an inference that the removal was because of race. Brown v. State, 751 N.E.2d 664, 667 (Ind.2001) (citing Williams v. State, 700 N.E.2d 784, 786 (Ind.1998)). Only after a prima facie showing is made does the burden shift to......
  • Lindsey v. State, No. 29A02-0902-CR-196.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • November 9, 2009
    ...valid and no discriminatory intent is inherent in the explanation, the reason offered will be deemed race-neutral. Brown v. State, 751 N.E.2d 664, 667-68 (Ind.2001). Finally, the trial court must then decide whether the party making the Batson challenge has carried its burden of proving pur......
  • Boney v. State, No. 22A01-0607-CR-310.
    • United States
    • Indiana Court of Appeals of Indiana
    • January 29, 2008
    ..."must only be related to the case and constitute a valid race-neutral reason for striking the juror in question." See Brown v. State, 751 N.E.2d 664, 668-69 (Ind.2001) (approving the State's decision to strike an African American juror whose niece had been killed by her grand-nephew, reason......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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