The Supreme Court today denied review in People v. Newson. Justice Goodwin Liu agreed with the denial, but he wrote a concurring statement — joined by Justice Kelli Evans — to “note that the issue concerning the prosecutor’s strike of Prospective Juror No. 22 . . . , a Black woman, provides yet another illustration of why the Legislature believed it necessary to enact Assembly Bill No. 3070 (Reg. Sess. 2019-2020) to overhaul the legal framework for eliminating racial discrimination in jury selection. (See Stats. 2020, ch. 318, § 2, adding Code Civ. Proc., § 231.7; People v. Nadey (2024) __ Cal.5th __, __ . . . [prosecutor struck several Black women jurors for reasons presumptively invalid under Code Civ. Proc., § 231.7].)”

Justice Liu concluded that “the entirety of the record and the circumstances here — including the prosecutor’s statement of reasons, the trial court’s ruling, and the Court of Appeal’s opinion, though legally supportable — do not inspire great confidence that Juror No. 22 was in fact removed without regard to her race.” He said the prosecutor’s reasons and the trial court ruling wouldn’t pass muster “under the new legal framework,” which was enacted after the defendant’s trial.

The Fourth District, Division One, Court of Appeal, in an unpublished opinion, had held “the trial court did not err in denying the Batson/Wheeler motion, as the trial court corroborated the same body language concerns raised by the prosecutor and that finding is due great deference.”


Over two-justice Batson dissent, Supreme Court affirms death penalty

Justices Liu and Evans dissenting from denial of review in another Batson case: here

“Justice Goodwin Liu Shared Views on Jury Selection With Lawmakers Weighing Bill”

Justice Jenkins indicates interest in Batson/Wheeler and environmental issues