State v. Parker, No. 74517

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Missouri
Writing for the CourtCOVINGTON; ROBERTSON; PREWITT; BENTON; PRICE
Citation836 S.W.2d 930
Decision Date21 July 1992
Docket NumberNo. 74517
PartiesSTATE of Missouri, Respondent, v. Vornell PARKER, Appellant, and Vornell PARKER, Appellant, v. STATE of Missouri, Respondent.

Page 930

836 S.W.2d 930
STATE of Missouri, Respondent,
v.
Vornell PARKER, Appellant,
and
Vornell PARKER, Appellant,
v.
STATE of Missouri, Respondent.
No. 74517.
Supreme Court of Missouri,
En Banc.
July 21, 1992.

Page 932

William J. Swift, Columbia, for appellant.

William L. Webster, Atty. Gen., Joan F. Edwards, Asst. Atty. Gen., Jefferson City, for respondent.

COVINGTON, Judge.

Vornell Parker appeals his conviction for possession of cocaine. § 195.020, RSMo 1986. After opinion, the Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern District, transferred the case to this Court to reexamine State v. Antwine, 743 S.W.2d 51 (Mo. banc 1987). The case is remanded.

Appellant does not challenge the sufficiency of the evidence. The evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the verdict, shows that Detective Richard Will received a tip from a confidential informant that appellant and his brother, Aaron, were storing a large amount of cocaine in an apartment next door to their residence. Detective Will reported the information to his supervisor, Sergeant Henderson, who ordered surveillance of the residence. Detectives Will and Swederski participated in the surveillance and saw appellant carrying a briefcase which, the informant reported, appellant used to transfer drugs.

On March 3, 1989, the police obtained a search warrant and executed it. After the police unsuccessfully attempted to gain admission to appellant's dwelling by knocking and announcing their presence, Will forced open the front door with a sledge hammer. As the police entered the residence, they observed appellant running toward the kitchen. Will chased appellant and saw him toss a bag of cocaine behind the refrigerator. A subsequent search revealed two additional bags of cocaine.

After trial, the jury found appellant guilty of possession of cocaine in violation of § 195.020, RSMo 1986. On February 9, 1990, the court sentenced appellant as a prior and persistent offender to seven years imprisonment. Appellant filed a pro se Rule 29.15 motion. Appointed counsel filed a timely amended motion. After conducting an evidentiary hearing, the court denied appellant's motion.

Appellant's first point on appeal is a claim involving equal protection as it relates to the government's exercise of peremptory challenges. Appellant's claim is framed in the alternative. He contends that he established a prima facie case under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69 (1986); he argues in the alternative that, even if he failed to establish a prima facie case under Batson, it was error for the trial court not to have required the state to explain its peremptory strikes as directed in State v. Antwine, 743 S.W.2d 51, 64 (Mo. banc 1987). Appellant claims that the trial court's failure to comply with Antwine's directive prevented him from establishing that the state's strikes were racially motivated in violation of his and the excluded venirepersons' equal protection rights.

A brief recapitulation of the development of the law affecting equal protection

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and peremptory strikes is warranted, to serve as a background for the analysis of appellant's claim. The United States Supreme Court has long recognized that the United States Constitution prohibits all forms of purposeful racial discrimination in the selection of jurors. See Martin v. Texas, 200 U.S. 316, 319, 26 S.Ct. 338, 338, 50 L.Ed. 497 (1906). Trying a criminal defendant before a jury from which members of the defendant's race have been purposefully excluded denies that person equal protection of the law because it denies that person the protection that a trial by jury is intended to secure. Strauder v. West Virginia, 100 U.S. 303, 309, 25 L.Ed. 664 (1880). In addition, discrimination in jury selection violates the constitutional rights of the excluded venirepersons by denying them the opportunity to participate in the administration of justice on an equal footing with other citizens. Id. 100 U.S. at 308.

The United States Supreme Court first sought to protect equal protection rights from encroachment by prosecutors exercising peremptory challenges in Swain v. Alabama, 380 U.S. 202, 85 S.Ct. 824, 13 L.Ed.2d 759 (1965). In Swain the Court emphasized the importance of peremptory challenges in ensuring an impartial jury. The Court found that equal protection rights of a defendant are violated if the defendant can show that the prosecutor consistently and systematically struck African-Americans from the venire in case after case regardless of the circumstance, with the result that no African-Americans ever served on petit juries. Id. 380 U.S. at 223, 85 S.Ct. at 837. The Swain burden of proof imposed a nearly insurmountable obstacle to the vindication of black persons' equal protection rights as evidenced by the fact that in the twenty-one years after Swain, only two defendants were able to establish a case of discrimination. Theodore McMillian & Christopher J. Petrini, Batson v. Kentucky: A Promise Unfulfilled, 58 UMKC L.Rev. 361, 365 (1990).

In Batson the United States Supreme Court recognized that the crippling burden of proof imposed upon defendants by Swain nearly immunized a prosecutor's use of peremptory challenges from constitutional scrutiny. The Batson Court replaced the Swain test with an evidentiary framework, modeled on Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, that permits a defendant to prove discrimination in selection of the petit jury solely by evidence concerning the prosecutor's exercise of peremptory challenges at the defendant's trial. Id. at 365-66; See also L. Ashley Lyu, Getting at the Truth: Adversarial Hearings in Batson Inquiries, 57 Fordham L.Rev. 725, 729 (1990); Batson, 476 U.S. at 96, 106 S.Ct. at 1723.

The three-step process delineated by the Court in Batson allows a defendant to challenge the state's peremptory strikes to vindicate his own equal protection rights. Id. at 96-98, 106 S.Ct. at 1723-24. The first step requires the defendant to come forward with a prima facie showing of purposeful discrimination. Id. at 96-97, 106 S.Ct. at 1723. To prove a prima facie case under Batson, the defendant must show that he is a member of a cognizable racial group and the prosecutor exercised peremptory challenges to remove members of the defendant's race from the venire. The defendant is entitled to rely on the fact that peremptory challenges permit prosecutors to discriminate and to rely on any other relevant circumstances to raise an inference that the prosecutor used peremptory challenges to exclude venirepersons from the petit jury on account of race. Id. at 96, 106 S.Ct. at 1723.

Subsequently the United States Supreme Court dispensed with the Batson prima facie case requirement of racial identity between the defendant and the excluded venireperson in Powers v. Ohio, 499 U.S. 400, 111 S.Ct. 1364, 113 L.Ed.2d 411 (1991). In Powers the Supreme Court recognized that Batson challenges were meant to protect not only the defendant's equal protection rights but also the equal protection rights of excluded venirepersons. Id. 111 S.Ct. at 1370. To facilitate the vindication of these excluded venirepersons' rights, the Court held that a criminal defendant has standing to assert the equal protection rights of venirepersons excluded

Page 934

for racial reasons from their jury. Id. at 1368-70. 1

In Edmonson v. Leesville, 500 U.S. 614, 111 S.Ct. 2077, 114 L.Ed.2d 660 (1991), the Court again focused on protecting venirepersons from racial discrimination and maintaining the public's confidence in the judicial process in deciding that racially motivated strikes by civil litigants violate the Constitution and may be challenged by the opposing party. Id. 111 S.Ct. at 2088. 2 The importance of protecting the dignity of persons and the integrity of the courts from damage inflicted through racially motivated peremptory strikes was recently reaffirmed in Georgia v. McCollum, 505 U.S. 42, 112 S.Ct. 2348, 120 L.Ed.2d 33 (1992). In McCollum the Supreme Court determined that the state may challenge a criminal defendant's peremptory strikes to vindicate the excluded venirepersons' and society's interest in eradicating racial discrimination from the courtroom. Id. 505 U.S. at ----, 112 S.Ct. at 2358-59.

After McCollum, any party may invoke a Batson claim. Once a party has established a prima facie case under Batson, the other party must give race-neutral reasons for the challenged peremptory strikes. The prosecutor's explanations must be more than an unsubstantiated denial of discriminatory purpose or affirmance of good faith, but an explanation rising to the level of exclusion for cause is not required. Id. 476 U.S. at 97-98, 106 S.Ct. at 1723-24. To be sufficient the explanation need only be race-neutral, reasonably specific and clear, and related to the particular case to be tried. Id. at 98, 106 S.Ct. at 1724. Unless a discriminatory intent is inherent in the prosecutor's explanation, the reason offered will be deemed race-neutral. Hernandez v. New York, 500 U.S. 352, 111 S.Ct. 1859, 1866, 114 L.Ed.2d 395 (1991). Even if the prosecutor's explanation results in the disproportionate removal of minority venireperson, disparate impact alone will not convert a facially race-neutral explanation into a per se violation of equal protection. Id. 111 S.Ct. at 1867.

Once the prosecutor offers a sufficient race-neutral explanation for the challenge, the prima facie case is rebutted. The Batson inquiry moves on to the third step, which requires the court to determine whether the defendant has established purposeful discrimination. Id. 111 S.Ct. at 1868. To succeed, the defendant must show that the prosecutor's proffered reasons are merely pretextual and that the true motivation for the strike was racial. Antwine, 743 S.W.2d at 64; see also Texas Dept. of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 253-56, 101 S.Ct. 1089, 1093-95, 67 L.Ed.2d 207 (1981). The focus at this stage of the...

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220 practice notes
  • State v. Deck, No. 80821
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 1 Junio 1999
    ...at 146, 114 S.Ct. 1419. Page 537 Missouri has adopted a three-step process for making a successful Batson challenge. State v. Parker, 836 S.W.2d 930, 939 (Mo. banc 1992). First, the defendant must object to the state's peremptory strike and identify the protected class to which the prospect......
  • State v. Gray, No. 75496
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 25 Octubre 1994
    ...challenges as violating Batson and identify the cognizable racial group to which the stricken venirepersons belong. State v. Parker, 836 S.W.2d 930, 939 (Mo. banc), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 1014, 113 S.Ct. 636, 121 Page 384 L.Ed.2d 566 (1992). The state must then provide race neutral explanat......
  • People v. Harris, No. S081700.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 26 Agosto 2013
    ...State v. Rayfield (2006) 369 S.C. 106, 631 S.E.2d 244, 247;Melbourne v. State (Fla.1996) 679 So.2d 759, 764;State v. Parker (Mo.1992) 836 S.W.2d 930, 940;State v. Holloway (1989) 209 Conn. 636, 553 A.2d 166, 171–172.) This court obviously has not adopted that approach, and I do not urge us ......
  • People v. Harris, No. S081700.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 26 Agosto 2013
    ...State v. Rayfield (2006) 369 S.C. 106, 631 S.E.2d 244, 247;Melbourne v. State (Fla.1996) 679 So.2d 759, 764;State v. Parker (Mo.1992) 836 S.W.2d 930, 940;State v. Holloway (1989) 209 Conn. 636, 553 A.2d 166, 171–172.) This court obviously has not adopted that approach, and I do not urge us ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
220 cases
  • State v. Deck, No. 80821
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 1 Junio 1999
    ...at 146, 114 S.Ct. 1419. Page 537 Missouri has adopted a three-step process for making a successful Batson challenge. State v. Parker, 836 S.W.2d 930, 939 (Mo. banc 1992). First, the defendant must object to the state's peremptory strike and identify the protected class to which the prospect......
  • State v. Gray, No. 75496
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Missouri
    • 25 Octubre 1994
    ...challenges as violating Batson and identify the cognizable racial group to which the stricken venirepersons belong. State v. Parker, 836 S.W.2d 930, 939 (Mo. banc), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 1014, 113 S.Ct. 636, 121 Page 384 L.Ed.2d 566 (1992). The state must then provide race neutral explanat......
  • People v. Harris, No. S081700.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 26 Agosto 2013
    ...State v. Rayfield (2006) 369 S.C. 106, 631 S.E.2d 244, 247;Melbourne v. State (Fla.1996) 679 So.2d 759, 764;State v. Parker (Mo.1992) 836 S.W.2d 930, 940;State v. Holloway (1989) 209 Conn. 636, 553 A.2d 166, 171–172.) This court obviously has not adopted that approach, and I do not urge us ......
  • People v. Harris, No. S081700.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court (California)
    • 26 Agosto 2013
    ...State v. Rayfield (2006) 369 S.C. 106, 631 S.E.2d 244, 247;Melbourne v. State (Fla.1996) 679 So.2d 759, 764;State v. Parker (Mo.1992) 836 S.W.2d 930, 940;State v. Holloway (1989) 209 Conn. 636, 553 A.2d 166, 171–172.) This court obviously has not adopted that approach, and I do not urge us ......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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