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Constitutional Law — equal protection — juror selection

U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit

Civil

Constitutional Law — equal protection — juror selection

It was not an abuse of discretion for the district court not to increase the size of the jury pool in an attempt to increase the likelihood of a black juror being empanelled.

“‘The process of empaneling a jury is firmly entrusted to the sound discretion of the trial judge and will not be disturbed absent an abuse of this discretion.’ United States v. Beasley, 48 F.3d 262, 266 (7th Cir. 1995) (quoting United States v. Rubin, 37 F.3d 49, 54 (2d Cir. 1994)). There was no abuse of discretion here. But even quoting the standard of review is getting ahead of ourselves. Marshall has suggested no remotely cognizable legal harm to support this argument. It is established that a litigant has no right to a petit jury which contains members of his race or which fairly represents a cross-section of the community. See Holland v. Illinois, 493 U.S. 474, 477–78 (1990); United States v. Hatchett, 31 F.3d 1411, 1426 (7th Cir. 1994). So how could the district court have erred by failing to ensure that Marshall got one? Marshall did, of course, have a right to a jury venire composed of a fair cross-section of the community, Hatchett, 31 F.3d at 1426, but he is not challenging the composition of the venire. He also had a right to see that no state actor intentionally excluded any person from the petit jury on account of their race, Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986), but, again, Marshall is not claiming that any state actor acted in such a way. In short, it is hard to see the legal basis for Marshall’s motion, let alone any reason why the district court’s failure to grant it might amount to an abuse of discretion.”

Affirmed.

13-2771 Marshall v. City of Chicago

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Durkin, J., Kanne, J.


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