The Batson Challenge is a voir dire technique that separates the good lawyers from those that are deemed to be elite. The Batson Challenge, also known as the Batson Objection, is an objection. One party argues that the other has used the peremptory challenge to strike one or more prospective jurors from the panel for a discriminatory purpose in violation of the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection guarantee.
The Batson Challenge was born in the case of “Batson v. Kentucky” (476 U.S. 79; 1986). It is a challenge that was initially applied to racial discrimination in jury selection but is now also used when gender or sometimes ethnic background is an issue. The party objecting usually must establish by evidence a prima facie case of discrimination. The other party must then prove a neutral reason for the strike. To learn more about the Batson Challenge, we spoke to several of the top lawyers in the State of Michigan.
Matthew McManus is the Managing Member of McManus and Amadeo in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and is known as one of the top research attorneys on the topic of jury selection. McManus stated, “Jury selection is a topic that is highly overlooked in the criminal law sect. As many seasoned lawyers will tell you, the jury picks their team during voir dire. The Batson Challenge is utilized in different communities when a prosecutor is trying to stack the court in their favor. Knowing how to utilize the challenge is essential to success.”