Stamps v. State, 82S00-8601-CR-18

Docket NºNo. 82S00-8601-CR-18
Citation515 N.E.2d 507
Case DateNovember 24, 1987
CourtSupreme Court of Indiana

Page 507

515 N.E.2d 507
Richard C. STAMPS, Appellant (Defendant Below),
STATE of Indiana, Appellee (Plaintiff Below).
No. 82S00-8601-CR-18.
Supreme Court of Indiana.
Nov. 24, 1987.

Page 508

John F. Davis, Mary Jane Humphrey, Evansville, for appellant.

Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen., Louis E. Ransdell, Deputy Atty. Gen., Indianapolis, for appellee.

DICKSON, Justice.

Defendant Richard Stamps was convicted of murder. In this direct appeal he presents the following issues:

Page 509

1. denial of fair trial because of prosecutor's peremptory challenges;

2. application of Patterson exception to hearsay rule;

3. admissibility of cropped photograph of victim;

4. opinion testimony.

We affirm.

1. Peremptory Challenges

Defendant first contends that the trial court erred in subjecting him, a black man, to a jury trial in which the State had improperly used its peremptory challenges to exclude two black persons from the jury.

The equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment forbids the prosecutor from challenging potential jurors solely on account of their race. Batson v. Kentucky (1986), 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69; Weekly v. State (1986), Ind., 496 N.E.2d 29. In order to demonstrate purposeful discrimination in the selection of the petit jury, a defendant must show that he is a member of a cognizable racial group, that the prosecutor has peremptorily challenged members of the defendant's race, and that these facts and other relevant circumstances raise an inference that the prosecutor excluded prospective jurors because of their race. Batson, 476 U.S. at 96-98, 106 S.Ct. at 1723, 90 L.Ed.2d at 87-88; Weekly, 496 N.E.2d at 31. Once these factors are shown, purposeful discrimination will be presumed unless the prosecutor presents a neutral explanation for his exercise of peremptory challenges. The explanation must relate to the particular case to be tried, but need not rise to the level justifying exercise of a challenge for cause. Id.

Following the completion of voir dire questioning by both parties, including each party's use of the full amount of allotted peremptory challenges, but before the jury was sworn, defense counsel requested an opportunity to make a motion outside the jurors' presence. Before allowing the motion, the trial court swore in the jury. Defendant then orally objected, asserting that the State had systematically excluded the only two black members of the jury by use of his peremptory challenges, and claimed as a result that the defendant was denied equal protection of the law, due process of law, and the right to a fair and impartial trial. Defense counsel also requested the cause to be withdrawn from the jury, and moved for mistrial.

In response, the prosecutor explained that his actions had nothing to do with race, but were based upon the jurors' responses to voir dire questions. The prosecutor did not particularize his reasoning beyond stating that he "did not believe it would be appropriate to have these individuals on the jury," and that "[i]t had nothing to do with their race." (R. 83)

In deciding whether defendant has made the requisite showing, the trial court should consider all relevant circumstances. Batson, 476 U.S. at 96-98, 106 S.Ct. at 1723, 90 L.Ed.2d at 88. We share the confidence expressed by the United States Supreme Court that:

[T]rial judges, experienced in supervising voir dire, will be able to decide if the circumstances concerning the prosecutor's use of peremptory challenges creates a prima facie case of discrimination against black jurors.

Id. Batson also observes that a prosecutor may not rebut a defendant's prima facie case of discrimination merely by denying that he had a discriminatory motive. Id.

We find that neither party provided sufficient explanations to satisfy the requirements of Batson and Weekly. The defendant failed to show the trial court that the prosecutor's peremptory...

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  • State v. Menter
    • United States
    • Superior Court of New Jersey
    • October 30, 1995
    ...he pinned her down. He cut her hand with a knife. The victim was able to punch the defendant in the groin and escape. Underwood, supra, 515 N.E.2d at 507. However, before escaping, the defendant grabbed the victim by her shorts. The defendant made no statement indicating an intent to rape t......
  • Williams v. State, 45S00-9210-DP-770
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • August 7, 1996 this general responsibility, T.R. 47(D) gives the court broad authority to examine prospective jurors. See also Stamps v. State, 515 N.E.2d 507, 509 (Ind.1987) (citing Hall v. State, 497 N.E.2d 916 (Ind.1986)). But although a trial judge may intervene in the fact-finding process and ques......
  • Phillips v. State, 71S00-8703-CR-284
    • United States
    • Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana
    • March 7, 1990
    ...Appellant's concession as to the cause of death does not render the photographs irrelevant or inadmissible. Stamps v. State (1987), Ind., 515 N.E.2d 507, 510. Relevant evidence is not inadmissible simply because it is gruesome. Whitehead v. State (1987), Ind., 511 N.E.2d 284, 295, cert. den......
  • Keeton v. State, 69639
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Texas. Court of Criminal Appeals of Texas
    • April 6, 1988
    ...against blacks and concluded that the trial court's ruling was not "clearly erroneous". The Supreme Court of Indiana, in Stamps v. State, 515 N.E.2d 507 (Ind.1987), has carried over the standard of appellate review used previously to determine error in voir dire, that of "manifest abuse of ......
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