Charges of racial discrimination in jury selection sometimes split the Supreme Court, but not today as the court unanimously affirms the death sentence in People v. Smith, rejecting the defendant’s argument he was entitled to a new trial because of Batson/Wheeler error.  The court’s opinion by Justice Leondra Kruger concludes that, even though there were no Black jurors deciding the Black defendant’s case and the prosecutor had stricken four prospective Black jurors, no retrial is necessary.  The court deferred to the trial court’s acceptance of the prosecutor’s race-neutral justifications for the strikes because the trial court’s evaluation “was sincere and reasoned.”

The court addresses a host of other arguments as well, finding none of them establish prejudicial error.