Johnson v. State, No. 96-CT-01136-SCT.

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
Citation754 So.2d 1178
Docket NumberNo. 96-CT-01136-SCT.
PartiesReginald Torlentus JOHNSON v. STATE of Mississippi.
Decision Date13 January 2000

754 So.2d 1178

Reginald Torlentus JOHNSON
v.
STATE of Mississippi

No. 96-CT-01136-SCT.

Supreme Court of Mississippi.

January 13, 2000.


Thomas M. Fortner, Jackson, Andre' De Gruy, Robert M. Ryan, Jackson, Attorneys for Appellant.

Office of the Attorney General by Glenn Watts, Attorney for Appellee.

EN BANC.

ON WRIT OF CERTIORARI

BANKS, Justice, for the Court:

¶ 1. The question presented in this appeal is whether a trial court, when considering peremptory challenges under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69 (1986), may decline to make a factual determination, on the record, of the merits of the reasons provided by a party for those challenges. The Court of Appeals found that the trial court's failure to hold such a hearing was not error. We granted certiorari and, pursuant to Hatten v. State, 628 So.2d 294 (Miss.1993), reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand this case to the Hinds County Circuit Court.

I.

¶ 2. The murder conviction which is the subject of this appeal arose out of an altercation over an allegedly stolen bicycle. Reginald Torlentus Johnson, defendant/appellant, shot and killed William Charleston.1

754 So.2d 1179
¶ 3. At trial, after the State had exercised all six of its peremptory challenges to remove blacks from consideration for jury service, the defense raised the issue that the State was exercising its strikes in a discriminatory fashion to systematically exclude these black venire members solely on the basis of race. The State countered that the facts did not establish a prima facie case of discriminatory intent in its exercise of the permitted peremptory challenges. Rather than decide that threshold issue, the trial court simply directed the State to offer race-neutral reasons for the six strikes. The State proceeded to do so. In summary, those reasons offered were as follows
(a) Juror One, Panel One refused to look at the prosecutor and was unresponsive.
(b) Juror Six, Panel One's husband was incarcerated in the penitentiary on a drug charge.
(c) Juror Nine, Panel One was struck because of age, being twenty-three years old.
(d) Juror Ten, Panel One made no direct eye contact and had served on a civil jury that returned a verdict against a police officer.
(e) Juror Eleven, Panel One was struck because of age, being twenty-three years old.
(f) Juror One, Panel Two was struck because of age, being twenty-nine years old, and because that juror had been on a jury that returned a defendant's verdict in a criminal prosecution.

¶ 4. The defense was then given the opportunity to be heard on the challenges. Defense counsel provided rebuttal on two of the State's peremptory strikes, Juror One, Panel One and Juror Ten, Panel One. Defense counsel's response was to the effect that the reasoning offered by the State was so unsubstantiated that it was offered to hide the discriminatory purpose for the strikes. The trial court announced, without elaboration, that all six peremptory challenges would be permitted to stand. It is that ruling that Johnson raised as error on direct appeal.2

¶ 5. The Court of Appeals found the following: (1) the trial court skipped the first...

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10 practice notes
  • Puckett v. State, No. 96-DP-00867-SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • June 28, 2001
    ...challenges which have been contested. We have placed the independent duty of fact finding on the trial courts. Johnson v. State, 754 So.2d 1178, 1180 (Miss.2000); Bounds v. State, 688 So.2d 1362, 1366 (Miss.1997); Hatten v. State, 628 So.2d 294, 298 (Miss.1993). Indeed, as the majority note......
  • Estate of Jones v. Phillips, No. 2006-CA-01898-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • August 28, 2008
    ...purposeful discrimination. Batson, 476 U.S. at 97-98, 106 S.Ct. 1712; Brawner v. State, 872 So.2d 1, 9-10 (Miss.2004); Johnson v. State, 754 So.2d 1178, 1180 (Miss.2000); Hatten v. State, 628 So.2d 294, 298 (Miss. 1993). See also Burnett v. Fulton, 854 So.2d 1010, 1013-14 (Miss.2003). The r......
  • Pruitt v. State, No. 2007-KA-00499-SCT (Miss. 4/10/2008), No. 2007-KA-00499-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • April 10, 2008
    ...we should, at the very least, remand this case for a hearing and findings in accordance with Hatten. See, e.g., Johnson v. State, 754 So. 2d 1178, 1180 (Miss. 2000) (remanding for a hearing pursuant to Hatten). However, I would hold that the trial court's failure in this case to make an on-......
  • Pruitt v. State, No. 2007-KA-00499-SCT.
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • July 24, 2008
    ...we should, at the very least, remand this case for a hearing and findings in accordance with Hatten. See, e.g., Johnson v. State, 754 So.2d 1178, 1180 (Miss.2000) (remanding for a hearing in accordance with Hatten). However, I would hold that the trial court's failure in this case to make a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
10 cases
  • Puckett v. State, No. 96-DP-00867-SCT
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • June 28, 2001
    ...challenges which have been contested. We have placed the independent duty of fact finding on the trial courts. Johnson v. State, 754 So.2d 1178, 1180 (Miss.2000); Bounds v. State, 688 So.2d 1362, 1366 (Miss.1997); Hatten v. State, 628 So.2d 294, 298 (Miss.1993). Indeed, as the majority note......
  • Estate of Jones v. Phillips, No. 2006-CA-01898-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • August 28, 2008
    ...purposeful discrimination. Batson, 476 U.S. at 97-98, 106 S.Ct. 1712; Brawner v. State, 872 So.2d 1, 9-10 (Miss.2004); Johnson v. State, 754 So.2d 1178, 1180 (Miss.2000); Hatten v. State, 628 So.2d 294, 298 (Miss. 1993). See also Burnett v. Fulton, 854 So.2d 1010, 1013-14 (Miss.2003). The r......
  • Pruitt v. State, No. 2007-KA-00499-SCT (Miss. 4/10/2008), No. 2007-KA-00499-SCT.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • April 10, 2008
    ...we should, at the very least, remand this case for a hearing and findings in accordance with Hatten. See, e.g., Johnson v. State, 754 So. 2d 1178, 1180 (Miss. 2000) (remanding for a hearing pursuant to Hatten). However, I would hold that the trial court's failure in this case to make an on-......
  • Pruitt v. State, No. 2007-KA-00499-SCT.
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court
    • July 24, 2008
    ...we should, at the very least, remand this case for a hearing and findings in accordance with Hatten. See, e.g., Johnson v. State, 754 So.2d 1178, 1180 (Miss.2000) (remanding for a hearing in accordance with Hatten). However, I would hold that the trial court's failure in this case to make a......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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