Holland v. Illinois

Decision Date22 January 1990
Docket NumberNo. 88-5050,88-5050
PartiesDaniel HOLLAND, Petitioner v. ILLINOIS
CourtU.S. Supreme Court
Syllabus

During jury selection at his state-court trial on various felony charges, petitioner, who is white, objected to the State's peremptory challenges that struck the two black venire members from the petit jury, on the ground that he had a Sixth Amendment right to "be tried by a representative cross section of the community." The trial judge overruled the objection, and petitioner was convicted of all but one of the charges. On appeal, the Illinois Supreme Court upheld the convictions and rejected petitioner's Sixth Amendment challenge to the exclusion of black jurors.

Held:

1. Petitioner has standing to raise a Sixth Amendment challenge to the exclusion of blacks from his jury. Although a defendant, in order to establish a prima facie Equal Protection Clause violation, "must show that he is a member of a cognizable racial group . . . and that the prosecutor has exercised peremptory challenges to remove from the venire members of the defendant's race," Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 96, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 1723, 90 L.Ed.2d 69, this Court has never suggested that such correlation between the group identification of the defendant and the group identification of the excluded venire member is necessary for Sixth Amendment standing. To the contrary, the Sixth Amendment entitles every defendant to object to a venire that is not designed to represent a fair cross section of the community. That petitioner seeks an extension of the fair-cross-section requirement from the venire to the petit jury does not affect his standing to assert it. Pp. 476-477.

2. Petitioner's Sixth Amendment claim is without merit because a prohibition upon the exclusion of cognizable groups through peremptory challenges has no basis in the Amendment's text, is without support in this Court's decisions, and would undermine rather than further the Amendment's guarantee of the right to trial by "an impartial jury." The Amendment's requirement that the venire from which the jury is chosen represent a fair cross section of the community constitutes a means of assuring, not a representative jury (which the Constitution does not demand), but an impartial one (which it does). Without such a requirement, the State would have, in effect, unlimited peremptory challenges to compose the pool from which the jury is drawn in its favor. This Court's decisions make clear that in no way can the fair-cross-section requirement be interpreted to prohibit peremptory challenges. See, e.g. Lockhart v. McCree, 476 U.S. 162, 173, 106 S.Ct. 1758, 1765, 90 L.Ed.2d 137. Such challenges have been considered "a necessary part of trial by jury," Swain v. Alabama, 380 U.S. 202, 219, 85 S.Ct. 824, 835, 13 L.Ed.2d 759, and serve the Sixth Amendment's goal of impartiality by permitting both the defendant and the State to eliminate prospective jurors belonging to groups they believe would unduly favor the other side, thereby removing extremes of partiality on both sides. Thus, the constitutional goal of "an impartial jury" would positively be obstructed by a petit jury fair-cross-section requirement, which would cripple the peremptory challenge device. The rule of Batson, supra, cannot be incorporated into the Sixth Amendment. Although that case extended the Equal Protection Clause's prohibition of race-based exclusion from the venire stage to the individual petit jury stage, it did so not because the two stages are inseparably linked, but because the Fourteenth Amendment's intransigent prohibition of racial discrimination applies to both. This case does not present an equal protection issue, and race as such has nothing to do with the question before the Court. Petitioner is not a black man and his Sixth Amendment claim would be just as strong if the object of the State's exclusion of jurors had been, not blacks, but any other identifiable group. Pp. 477-488.

121 Ill.2d 136, 117 Ill.Dec. 109, 520 N.E.2d 270, affirmed.

SCALIA, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which REHNQUIST, C.J., and WHITE, O'CONNOR, and KENNEDY, JJ., joined. KENNEDY, J., filed a concurring opinion, post, 488. MARSHALL, J., filed a dissenting opinion, in which BRENNAN and BLACKMUN, JJ., joined, post, 490. STEVENS, J., filed a dissenting opinion, post, 504.

Donald S. Honchell, Chicago, Ill., for petitioner.

Inge Fryklund, Chicago, Ill., for respondent.

Justice SCALIA delivered the opinion of the Court.

The questions presented by this case are (1) whether a white defendant has standing to raise a Sixth Amendment challenge to the prosecutor's exercise of peremptory challenges to exclude all black potential jurors from his petit jury, and (2) whether such exclusion violates his Sixth Amendment right to trial by an impartial jury.

I

Petitioner Daniel Holland was charged in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois, with aggravated kidnaping, rape, deviate sexual assault, armed robbery, and aggravated battery. According to his allegations, a venire of 30 potential jurors was assembled, 2 of whom were black. Petitioner's counsel objected to those of the State's peremptory challenges that struck the two black venire members from the petit jury, on the ground that petitioner had a Sixth Amendment right to "be tried by a representative cross section of the community." App. 7-8. The trial judge overruled the objection, and petitioner was subsequently convicted of all except the aggravated battery charge. The convictions were reversed by the Illinois Appellate Court, First District, 147 Ill.App.3d 323, 100 Ill.Dec. 868, 497 N.E.2d 1230 (1986), on grounds that are irrelevant here, but on further appeal by the State were reinstated by the Illinois Supreme Court, which rejected petitioner's Equal Protection Clause and Sixth Amendment challenges to the exclusion of the black jurors. 121 Ill.2d 136, 117 Ill.Dec. 109, 520 N.E.2d 270 (1987). We granted Holland's petition for certiorari asserting that the Sixth Amendment holding was error. 489 U.S. 1051, 109 S.Ct. 1309, 103 L.Ed.2d 579 (1989).

II

The threshold question is whether petitioner, who is white, has standing to raise a Sixth Amendment challenge to the exclusion of blacks from his jury. We hold that he does.

In Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 96, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 1723, 90 L.Ed.2d 69 (1986), we said that to establish a prima facie Equal Protection Clause violation in the discriminatory exclusion of petit jurors, the defendant "must show that he is a member of a cognizable racial group . . . and that the prosecutor has exercised peremptory challenges to remove from the venire members of the defendant's race." (Emphasis added.) We have never suggested, however, that such a requirement of correlation between the group identification of the defendant and the group identification of excluded venire members is necessary for Sixth Amendment standing. To the contrary, our cases hold that the Sixth Amendment entitles every defendant to object to a venire that is not designed to represent a fair cross section of the community, whether or not the systematically excluded groups are groups to which he himself belongs. See, e.g., Duren v. Missouri, 439 U.S. 357, 99 S.Ct. 664, 58 L.Ed.2d 579 (1979); Taylor v. Louisiana, 419 U.S. 522, 95 S.Ct. 692, 42 L.Ed.2d 690 (1975). Thus, in Taylor, we found standing in circumstances analogous to petitioner's:

"The State first insists that Taylor, a male, has no standing to object to the exclusion of women from his jury. But Taylor's claim is that he was constitutionally entitled to a jury drawn from a venire constituting a fair cross section of the community and that the jury that tried him was not such a jury by reason of the exclusion of women. Taylor was not a member of the excluded class; but there is no rule that claims such as Taylor presents may be made only by those defendants who are members of the group excluded from jury service." Id., at 526, 95 S.Ct. at 695.

Of course, in this case petitioner seeks an extension of the fair-cross-section requirement from the venire to the petit jury but that variation calls into question the scope of the Sixth Amendment guarantee, not his standing to assert it. We proceed, then, to the merits of the claim.

III

Petitioner asserts that the prosecutor intentionally used his peremptory challenges to strike all black prospective jurors solely on the basis of their race, thereby preventing a distinctive group in the community from being represented on his jury. This, he contends, violated the Sixth Amendment by denying him a "fair possibility" of a petit jury representing a cross section of the community. Petitioner invites us to remedy the perceived violation by incorporating into the Sixth Amendment the test we devised in Batson to permit black defendants to establish a prima facie violation of the Equal Protection Clause. Under petitioner's approach, a defendant of any race could establish a prima facie violation of the Sixth Amendment by objecting to the use of peremptory challenges to exclude all blacks from the jury. The burden would then shift to the prosecutor to show that the exercise of his peremptory challenges was not based on intentional discrimination against the black potential jurors solely because of their race. Only if the prosecutor could then show nonracial grounds for the strikes would no Sixth Amendment violation be found.

We reject petitioner's fundamental thesis that a prosecutor's use of peremptory challenges to eliminate a distinctive group in the community deprives the defendant of a Sixth Amendment right to the "fair possibility" of a representative jury. While statements in our prior cases have alluded to such a "fair possibility" requirement, satisfying it has not been held to require anything beyond the inclusion of all cognizable...

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