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Batson v. Kentucky and the Continuing Challenge of Racial Discrimination in Jury Selection

Total Credits
1 - 1.2
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Prosecutors continue to strike people of color in jury selection, resulting in all-white juries even in jurisdictions with diverse populations that include many people of color. Prosecutors give trivial reasons for their strikes, often reading them off lists of “approved race-neutral reasons.” Judges routinely approve the reasons.

There is a growing recognition that Batson has completely failed to prevent discrimination. Some states have adopted other approaches to prevent discrimination. This session will examine the challenges to litigating Batson claims, suggest ways to improve the likelihood of prevailing on a Batson objection, and explore what other jurisdictions are doing to prevent discrimination.

Lecturer Bio

Stephen B. Bright, Esq.

Stephen B. Bright is visiting professor of law at the Georgetown Law Center and a visiting lecturer at Yale Law School. He spent 34 years at the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta, first as director for 22 years and then as president and senior counsel through 2016. He has tried capital cases before juries in Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi, and argued cases before many state and federal appellate courts. He argued four capital cases before the Supreme Court, including three involving racial discrimination in jury selection, that were decided in favor of his clients. He received the American Bar Association’s Thurgood Marshall Award in 1998. The Fulton Daily Law Report, a legal newspaper in Georgia, named him “Newsmaker of the Year” in 2003 for his contribution to bringing about creation of a public defender system in Georgia. Before joining the Southern Center, he was a trial attorney at the Public Defender Service in Washington, DC, a legal services attorney in Appalachia, and director of a law school clinical program in Washington, DC.

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