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Criminal Procedure — ineffective assistance

United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit


Criminal Procedure — ineffective assistance

The attorney for a white supremacist was not ineffective for using peremptory challenges to strike white, rather than black, jurors.

“[T]he Supreme Court has held that lawyers are forbidden to exercise challenges on racial grounds. See Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986). This rule applies to defense counsel as well as to prosecutors. See Georgia v. McCollum, 505 U.S. 42 (1992). Although defense lawyers are not state (or federal) actors, a judge’s decision to honor a challenge is governmental and therefore must not implement racial discrimination. Far from holding that defense lawyers must defy Batson whenever evasion would be in the interest of the defense, we have held that racially motivated challenges constitute ineffective assistance, even when the lawyer sincerely believes that removing jurors of a particular race or sex would help the defendant. See Winston v. Boatwright, 649 F.3d 618 (7th Cir. 2011). Hale’s trial lawyer should be praised, not condemned, for resisting the temptation to use race as the basis of challenges.”


11-3868 Hale v. U.S.

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Moody, J., Easterbrook, J.

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