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Franklin v. Sims

August 14, 2008

MICHAEL FRANKLIN, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
GREGORY SIMS, WARDEN, RESPONDENT-APPELLEE.



Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 06 C 5780-Milton I. Shadur, Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sykes, Circuit Judge.

ARGUED JULY 9, 2008

Before POSNER, SYKES, and TINDER,Circuit Judges.

Michael Franklin, who is African-American, is serving a 23-year sentence in Illinois for armed robbery. He petitioned for a writ of habeas corpus,28 U.S.C. § 2254, claiming that the prosecution violated his right to equal protection by exercising peremp-tory strikes against two of three African-American members of the first six-person panel of the jury venire. See Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986). The district court denied his petition. We affirm.

I. Background

In 2001 two men, both armed and masked, entered the King Food and Liquor Store in Chicago and stole $500-$600. Franklin was charged with the robbery and tried before a jury.

During jury selection, the State exercised peremptory strikes against jurors Margaret Cooley and Lance Tyson-two of the three African-American members of the first six-person panel of prospective jurors. Previous questioning had revealed that Cooley is a housekeeper who had never been accused of a crime nor been the victim of a crime. She did, however, disclose that she had relatives who had been raped and that her domestic partner had spent time in prison. Tyson is an attorney and has several friends who are civil-court judges. He disclosed that he had received a speeding ticket, but when the prosecutor confronted him with his court records, Tyson admitted that the ticket was for driving under the influence (DUI).

The State struck Cooley and Tyson and accepted the remaining four jurors in the six-person panel. Franklin then made a Batson motion. The judge denied the motion, finding that Franklin failed to make out a prima facie case of discrimination. The following is the entire argument on the motion:

Def: Okay. All right, Judge.

Initially what I do is state for the record my client is African-American and Miss Cooley and Mr. Tyson are African-American and we could state that there don't appear to be any race neutral reasons for bumping those individuals. We request the State give reasons for bumping both of them.

Ct.: Well, that's not the standard.

Def.: Well, Judge, I'm establishing my prima facie case.

Ct.: How are you doing that?

Def.: There's nothing I've heard that gives any reason why these people would be bumped and [they're] African-American ...


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