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02/22/89 the People of the State of v. William Young

February 22, 1989





538 N.E.2d 453 , 128 Ill. 2d 1 , 131 Ill. Dec. 78

Rehearing Denied May 26, 1989; See separate opinion involving same case at 538 N.E.2d 461 1989.IL.207




Justice WARD delivered the opinion of the court:

The defendant, William Young, an inmate at the Stateville Correctional Center, was indicted in the circuit court of Will County for the murder (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 9-1) of Brian Jackson, who also was an inmate. Following a jury trial, the defendant was found guilty and, upon the State's motion, a death penalty hearing was held. The jury found that there existed one or more of the aggravating factors in section 9-1(b) of the Criminal Code of 1961 (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 38, par. 9-1(b) and that there were no mitigating factors sufficient to preclude a sentence of death. The defendant was accordingly sentenced to death, but the sentence was stayed pending a direct appeal to this court under section 4(b) of article VI of the Constitution of Illinois (Ill. Const. 1970, art. VI, § 4(b)) and Supreme Court Rule 603 (107 Ill. 2d R. 603).

On March 31, 1983, the body of Brian Jackson was discovered in the shower area of the gymnasium at the Stateville Correctional Center. An autopsy showed the cause of death to have been the combined effect of strangulation and 122 stab wounds. The indictment charged the defendant, Robert Amos, Karl Bell, Bruce Dawkins, Robert Tucker and Paul Williams with the murder of Jackson. The defendant and co-defendant Amos were jointly tried and found guilty.

The defendant, who is black, argues that his conviction should be reversed and a new trial ordered on the ground that, inter alia, his right to trial by an impartial jury was violated when the prosecution improperly exercised peremptory challenges to exclude all four of the black jurors examined on voir dire. The record shows that 58 prospective jurors were examined and that the State exercised 15 peremptory challenges to exclude jurors, four of whom were black. There were four blacks on the venire. The defendant objected at the time to the exercise of peremptory challenges to the black members of the venire, but the trial court, on the basis of Swain v. Alabama (1965), 380 U.S. 202, 85 S.Ct. 824, 13 L.Ed.2d 759, overruled the objections. In Swain, the Court held that a constitutional question of equal protection in the exercise of peremptory challenges was not presented unless there was a showing of systematic and purposeful exclusion of blacks because of race "in case after case." 380 U.S. at 223, 85 S.Ct. at 837, 13 L.Ed.2d at 774.

The equal protection clause prohibits the exclusion by peremptory challenge of prospective jurors by the prosecution "solely on account of their race." (Batson v. Kentucky (1986), 476 U.S. 79, 89, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 1719, 90 L.Ed.2d 69, 83; Strauder v. West Virginia (1880), 100 U.S. 303, 305, 25 L.Ed. 664, 664.) (A footnote in Batson stated: "We express no views on whether the Constitution imposes any limit on the exercise of peremptory challenges by defense counsel." (476 U.S. at 89 n. 12, 106 S.Ct. at 1718 n. 12, 90 L.Ed.2d at 82 n. 12))

A defendant contending that the prosecution's exercise of peremptory challenges was racially motivated has the burden of showing purposeful discrimination. (Batson v. Kentucky (1986), 476 U.S. 79, 93, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 1721, 90 L.Ed.2d 69, 85; Whitus v. Georgia (1967), 385 U.S. 545, 550, 87 S.Ct. 643, 646, 17 L.Ed.2d 599, 603-04.) At the time of the defendant's trial, the Supreme Court's holding in Swain v. Alabama (1965), 380 U.S. 202, 85 S.Ct. 824, 13 L.Ed.2d 759, governed this evidentiary burden. (See People v. Lyles (1985), 106 Ill. 2d 373, 392-95, 87 Ill. Dec. 934, 478 N.E.2d 291; People v. Williams (1983), 97 Ill. 2d 252, 273-74, 73 Ill. Dec. 360, 454 N.E.2d 220.) Considering the nature of the peremptory challenge, Swain considered there was a presumption that the prosecution properly exercised such challenges. To overcome this presumption, a defendant was required to show a systematic and purposeful pattern of excluding venire members from the jury-selection process on the ground of race in "case after case, whatever the circumstances, whatever the crime and whoever the defendant or the victim may be." Swain v. Alabama (1965), 380 U.S. 202, 223, 85 S.Ct. 824, 837, 13 L.Ed.2d 759, 774.

Following the trail of the defendant here and during the pendency of this appeal, the Supreme Court handed down its opinion in Batson v. Kentucky (1986, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L.Ed.2d 69, which, replacing the test for discriminatory exclusion of Swain, held that a defendant would be able to establish a "prima facie case of purposeful discrimination in selection of the petit jury solely on evidence concerning the prosecutor's exercise of peremptory challenges at the defendant's trial." (476 U.S. at 96, 106 S.Ct. at 1722-23, 90 L.Ed.2d at 87.) To establish a prima facie case:

"he defendant first must show that he is a member of a cognizable racial group [citation] and that the prosecutor has exercised peremptory challenges to remove from the venire members of the defendant's race. Second, the defendant is entitled to rely on the fact, as to which there can be no dispute, that peremptory challenges constitute a jury selection practice that permits "those to discriminate who are of a mind to discriminate.' [Citation.] Finally, the defendant must show that these facts and any other relevant circumstances raise an inference that the prosecutor used that practice to exclude the veniremen from the petit jury on account of their race. This combination of factors in the empaneling of the petit jury, as in the selection of the venire, raises the necessary inference of purposeful discrimination.

Once the defendant makes a prima facie showing, the burden shifts to the State to come forward with a neutral explanation for challenging black jurors. . . . The prosecutor . . . must articulate a neutral explanation related to the particular case to be tried. The trial court then will have the duty to determine if the defendant has established purposeful discrimination." Batson v. Kentucky (1986, 476 U.S. 79, 96-98, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 1723-24, 90 L.Ed.2d 69, 87-89.

In Batson, a black defendant was tried and convicted by an all-white jury following the prosecution's exercise of peremptory challenges of the only four blacks on the venire. In reversing the conviction, the Court stated that "[b]ecause the trial court flatly rejected the objection without requiring the prosecutor to give an explanation for his action, we remand this case for further proceedings" to determine if the "facts establish, prima facie, purposeful discrimination." 476 U.S. at 100, 106 S.Ct. at 1725, 90 L.Ed.2d at 90.

The Supreme Court has announced that the standard in Batson is to be applied retroactively to all cases which pended on direct review and were not yet final. (Griffith v. Kentucky (1987), 479 U.S. 314, 107 S.Ct. 708, 93 L.Ed.2d 649.) Thus, this case, which is before this court on direct appeal, is to be considered under Batson. On May 1, 1987, this court, pursuant to its supervisory authority (see 107 Ill. 2d R. 383), remanded for a hearing, in light of Batson, to ...

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