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Sulc Tegal Writing Trial Brief

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Monday, Wednesday Class #38

STATE OF LOUISIANA * DOCKET #: 10-3811 Division “J” *
VERSUS * 19TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT * DARRYL HUNT * PARISH OF NEW ROUGE

POST-TRIAL BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF THE
DEFENDANT’S MOTION FOR NEW TRIAL

_________________________

TABLE OF AUTHORITIES

Statutes

U.S. Const. amend. XIV………………………………………………………………5
LSA-C.Cr.P. Art. 797………………………………………………………………..10
Cases

Batson v. Kentucky, 106 S. Ct. 1712 (1986)…………………………………………10

State v. Jones, 09-0751, (La. App. 1 Cir. 10/23/09) (unpublished)…………………..6

State v. Prejean, 09-0878, (La. App. 1 Cir. 10/27/09) (unpublished)………………..8

Books

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 101 (Fourth ed., Houghton Mifflen Co. 2009)………………………………………………………....7

Periodicals

23 S.C.Jur. Jury § 30 (2010)………………………………………………………….7

Other

David Schepp, BBC, Gold Teeth Are a Gold Mine, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/1471097.stm (posted August 3, 2001, 4:51 p.m. GMT)…………………………………………………………………………………7

Ghetto. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ghetto (accessed April 18, 2010)...........................................7

Nigger. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nigger (accessed April 18, 2010)...........................................6

STATEMENT OF FACTS

In today’s America most people believe we have evolved to see past race. They claim the hateful rhetoric and antiquated prejudices that plagued previous generations is gone. Some have even said we live in a post-racial world. The tragic story of Darryl Hunt’s conviction makes it all too clear that racial prejudice is alive and well in American. Although she is allegedly blind, Justice still sees color. Darryl Hunt, and African-American male, was convicted by an all white jury. Throughout the trial and on into deliberation one juror made inappropriate racist comments. Within the first few hours of the trial the other jurors overheard him saying “that is too ghetto” in response testimony given by the Darryl Hunt and issues raised by his defense attorney. He also used the term used the term “nigger-spics” freely and disrespectfully throughout the trial and in deliberations to describe the defendant’s family. The judge was made aware of these comments shortly after the trial began. He briefly questioned the jury as a group to make sure they were remaining objective. One juror spoke for the groups and said they were. The judge never questioned the juror who made the offensive comments to determine if he was racially biased. An all white jury was selected to decide Darryl’s fate. At least one, potential, non-white juror, Hector Poinson, was excluded by the prosecution. Mr. Poinson has a Hispanic father and a Creole mother. He is olive to cream complexion and clearly not Caucasian at first glance. Hector Poinson is an intelligent hard-working man. His most recent job was as a disc jockey at a club in the inner city. He was recently laid off, and is diligently seeking new employment. He had dreadlocked hair and wears a grill in his mouth. He is fascinated by the law and looked forward to his chance to participate in the judicial process. Out of respect for the court he wore business attire to jury selection; no other potential juror paid the court the same respect. Hector was not allowed the opportunity to fulfill his civic duty. He does not speak well and because of this speaks slowly and with little confidence. None of the questions Mr. Poinson was asked during selection were asked to the potential jurors who were white. The prosecution chose to exclude Hector from the jury based on inappropriate, suspect, and racially offensive reasons. The prosecution’s raised three reason’s Hector should be excluded. The first reason was his jewelry and hairstyle. The next reason the defense gave was because Hector was the only potential juror who wore business attire. The third reason the prosecution gave was they felt Hector’s speaking style would be difficult to transcribe. It is worth noting that despite fears Hector’s speech would be hard to transcribe he was never asked to repeat any of his answers.

PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Darryl Hunt files a motion for a new trial in the case of State v. Hunt. No man should be sent to prison without trial by an impartial jury of his peers, since the jury in at trial was not impartial the verdict should be set aside and a new hearing should be conducted.

ISSUE STATEMENTS
1. Under Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure article 797, was Darryl Hunt’s right to an impartial jury violated when a juror who referred to the trial proceedings as “too ghetto” and used the racist term “nigger-spics” to refer Darryl Hunt’s family both at trial and during deliberations was allowed to remain seated on the jury?
2. Under Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure article 401, was the State’s exclusion of Hector Poinson from the jury because of his hairstyle, attire, jewelry, and a fear there would be trouble transcribing his speech racially based discrimination, when he was the only non-white potential juror jury discrimination?
ARGUMENT
Juror Misconduct
Darryl Hunt had a Sixth Amendment right to a fair trial by an impartial jury. Louisiana Code of Criminal Procedure Article 797 protects that right by allowing the dismissal of jurors who fail to remain impartial. Darryl Hunt, an African American, was denied this fundamental element of American justice. He was convicted by an all white jury. One juror failed to remain impartial and showed his bigotry throughout the trial and on into deliberation. This man referred to Mr. Hunt’s family as “nigger-spics" and complained the trial was “too ghetto.”After the trial judge vaguely questioned the jury as a group, one juror said he was aware of no problems. The judge never spoke to the juror individually and allowed the trial to proceed.
The case of State v. Jones is the only Louisiana case dealing with this unique set of facts in regard to jury misconduct. In Jones a juror sent a note to the trial judge prior to opening arguments expressing concern because another juror used the term “nigger.” The judge raised the issue to both defense and prosecution. Rather than dismiss the juror who used the racial slur, the judge decided he need only tell the jury not to be influenced by prejudice. The defense objected to the judge’s actions and an all white jury returned a guilty verdict. The defense then filed a motion for a new trial that was denied.
A juror making racist comments at trial is an issue that courts nationwide have held as inappropriate and refused to tolerate. Jones discussed jurisprudence from several states which dealt with this topic. Each of these opinions had the same prevailing theme: racist comments made by a juror are unacceptable, an indication of bias, and deny people their right to trial by a fair and impartial jury. In Jones the court noted that it did not matter if the racist comments were directed at the defendant, just using the “n-word” was evidence of misconduct and warrant dismissal of the juror or grant the defendant a new trial. Jones went on to say the trial judge erred in not investigating the matter further, and should have at least questioned the jurors about the racist comments. Finally the court ruled the sentencing judge erred by not granting the defendant motion for a new trial.
While there are some factual differences between Jones and Darryl Hunt’s case the results are strikingly similar. Jones was on trial for weapon and drug charges while Darryl Hunt charged with rape and murder. Both cases dealt with an African-American defendant facing an all white jury. In both cases the trial judge was made aware of a juror’s racist comment by a concerned juror. In Jones both defense and prosecution were questioned about the racist comments, while they were not in the case of Darryl Hunt. In both cases defense disagreed with the judge’s decision to allow the racist juror to remain on the jury. A major difference between the two cases is the judge in Hunt questioned the jurors as a group. One juror was speaking for the group and said there was no problem. If there was no problem the judge would not have been made aware of the jurors’ comments. This difference does not discount the similarities between the two cases.
The “n-word” is one of the most offensive words in the English language, -particularly to African-Americans. Use of the “n-word” shows the speakers racial hatred and bigotry. Applying this definition, the juror’s habitual usage of the “n-word” was a clear indication of his racial bias. A ghetto is typically an area of a city typically populated with minorities due to their social or economic level. Referring to something as ghetto is discriminatory in nature because it implies inferiority. Thus the juror’s use of the phrase “this is too ghetto” is further evidence of his racial bias. Pursuant to the reasoning set forth in Jones the juror’s racially insensitive comments made throughout trial make him a biased juror, depriving Darryl Hunt of his right to trial by an impartial jury, and a new trial should be granted.
Discrimination in the Jury Selection Process Hector Poinson is an intelligent hard-working man and was a potential juror at Darryl Hunt’s trial. He was recently laid off, and is diligently seeking new employment. He is fascinated by the law and looked forward to his chance to participate in the judicial process. Out of respect for the court he wore business attire to jury selection; no other potential juror paid the court the same respect. Hector’s father and mother are Hispanic and Creole respectively. A Creole person is of mixed European and African heritage. He is olive to cream complexion and clearly not Caucasian at first glance. Hector was not allowed the opportunity to fulfill his civic duty. The prosecution chose to exclude Hector from the jury passed on inappropriate, suspect, and racially offensive reasons. The prosecution’s cited three reason’s Hector should be excluded. The first reason was his jewelry and hairstyle. Mr. Poinson wears his hair in dreadlocks and had a grill. Although dreadlocks are becoming more common in mainstream society they remain a religious and social symbol in the African-American community. A grill is a removable mouthpiece, made of a precious metal, often decorated with gemstones, which has long been a social statement in the African-American community. Hector was not on trial; his appearance external appearance should carry no weight in determining his ability to serve on a jury. Mr. Poinson’s jewelry, hairstyle, and skin color made him appear African-American to the prosecution. The prosecution cited these traits as reasons he was unfit to serve on the jury. The next reason the prosecution gave for excluding Hector is Hector was the only potential juror who wore business attire. Once again it should be noted Hector was not on trial, though he was judged as if he was. Hector is the only juror who showed the court the respect it deserved by his dress, he showed he took his civic duty seriously and was proud to serve his community. The third reason the prosecution gave was they felt Hector’s speaking style would be difficult to transcribe. Hector was asked several questions by the prosecution during jury selection and he answered them all softly, slowly, and with great patience. Some of the questions had merit but others were a veiled attempt to exclude highlight Hector’s racial background. Hector was asked where, he shopped and his hobbies. These questions merely highlighted the fact Hector was a non-white and may have more in common with Darryl Hunt than the other white jurors. One of the more ignorant and insulting questions Hector answered was if he was conducting his job search by car, online, or by bus. Hector values hard work and the fact he is unemployed embarrasses him. His mode of transportation, whether bus or car, has no bearing on his ability to serve on a jury or to find a job. In this age of technology it would be foolish for Hector not to search for jobs online given the number of online job listings. It is no wonder Hector answered the prosecution’s questions slowly, softly, and with little confidence, the man had just been insulted and made to feel he was the one on trial. It is worth noting that despite fears Hector’s speech would be hard to transcribe he was not once asked to repeat any of his answers. State v. Prejean is a case of note dealing with the issue of discrimination in the jury selection case. In Prejean the defendant was convicted of aggravated incest. During jury selection the defense objected to several black jurors. After making race-based exclusions the defense was told it needed to come up with race-neutral explanations for its peremptory challenges. The defense dropped his challenges for some of the jurors because he could not come up with a race-neutral reason. Most of his objections, such as jurors feeling questions to the victim should be toned down to her level of understanding were rejected. His only objection which was accepted was for man who had grandchildren the same age as the victim. Prejean used a three step test known as the Batson test to determine if the defense was discriminating in jury selection. According to the Batson test; a trial judge is given wide discretion and the appellate court may only change the trial judge’s decision if the judge was clearly erroneous. There are several differences between Darryl Hunt’s case and Prejean. These differences are distinguishable but not outcome determinative. The different charges the men faced are of little consequence, as is the fact the defense raised the objections in Prejean while the objections were made by the prosecution in Hunt. Both cases the objections dealt with non-white jurors being excluded. In Hunt the end result was an all white jury, while Prejean had a multi-racial jury. Most of the objections raised in Prejean were rejected while in Hunt the judge accepted them. Since trial judges are given great deference in accepting peremptory challenges this may become problematic, although it may be overcome. Applying the Batson test it seems the prosecution sought to exclude Hector Poinson based on his ethnicity. The challenges rested on Hector’s external appearance and not on his ability to remain objective and because of that he was struck from the jury. The final makeup of Darryl Hunt’s jury shows the prosecution succeeded in creating an all white jury. The trial judge committed manifest error in allowing Hector Poinson to be excluded from the jury because none of the prosecution’s reasons were for cause. Each reason followed a racial stereotype and had nothing to do with Hector’s ability to be fair and objective. America is not a mono-colored sheet; it is a rich tapestry of many cultures and colors. To exclude Hector based on racial bias not only insults Hector Poinson, but the diverse make up of the United States of America. His exclusion created an all white, apathetic jury, unable to relate to Darryl Hunt. This partial jury denied Darryl Hunt justice, a new trial with a diverse, impartial jury is warranted.

PRAYER FOR RELIEF

Defendant, Darryl Hunt, pray that this court uses its wisdom to objectively examine the trial judge’s action in allowing a juror who was obviously racially biased to remain on the jury. We pray this court also consider the unwarranted and racially motivated dismissal of Hector Poinson from jury selection and grant Darryl Hunt the new, unbiased trial he deserves.
-------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------

-------------------------------------------------
Respectfully submitted,

_________________________ Grady Savoie (La. Bar Identification #125798) Savoie and Associates, L.L.C 867 Statham Ave Baton Rouge, La 70808 (Office) 225-761-4771 (Facsimile) 225-761-2525 Attorney for the Defendant, Darryl Hunt

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I HEREBY CERTIFY that a copy of this post-trial brief has this day been mailed via United States Postal Service, with sufficient postage affixed thereon, to Judge Bob Loblaw at the following address: 1313 Mocking Bird Lane, New Rouge, Louisiana 70123

New Rouge, Louisiana, this 19 day of April 2010.

_________________________ Grady Savoie (La. Bar Identification #125798) Savoie and Associates, L.L.C 867 Statham Ave Baton Rouge, La 70808 (Office) 225-761-4771 (Facsimile) 225-761-2525 Attorney for the Defendant, Darryl Hunt

--------------------------------------------
[ 1 ]. U.S. Const. amend. VI.
[ 2 ]. Hereinafter the “n-word”.
[ 3 ]. State v. Jones, 09-0751, (La. App. 1 Cir. 10/23/09) (unpublished).
[ 4 ]. Nigger. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nigger (accessed April 18, 2010).
[ 5 ]. Ghetto. Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ghetto (accessed April 18, 2010).
[ 6 ]. The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 101 (Fourth ed., Houghton Mifflen Co. 2009).
[ 7 ]. 23 S.C.Jur. Jury § 30 (2010).
[ 8 ]. David Schepp, BBC, Gold Teeth Are a Gold Mine, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/1471097.stm (posted August 3, 2001, 4:51 p.m. GMT).
[ 9 ]. State v. Prejean, 09-0878, (La. App. 1 Cir. 10/27/09) (unpublished)
[ 10 ]. Batson v. Kentucky, 106 S. Ct. 1712 (1986).
(1) [T]he mover must demonstrate that the challenge was directed at a member of a cognizable group; (2)…[M]ust the show the challenge was peremptory rather than for cause; and (3)…[M]ust show circumstances sufficient to raise an inference that the venire person was stuck for being a member of that cognizable group.…...

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...The criminal trial process begins with the arresting of the individual or the filing for an arrest warrant. An arraignment usually occurs within 48 hours after an arrest. At this time if the defendant has not been mirandized, they will advise them of their rights and of the charges against one. Bail will be set as long as the charge is not murder (2011). A judge can determine if he wants to impose bail for someone charged with murder. They will be given a date for their next court appearance and will be able to post bail and leave or if bail is denied will be remanded into custody (2011). In a state case the preliminary hearing is the next step. Within 7 to 10 days of the initial arraignment the preliminary hearing will take place. During this hearing a district judge will decide if the charges should be upheld. The prosecutions job is to prove that the charges are valid via a prima facie case. Witnesses and evidence will be provided by the prosecutor. The defense attorney does not provide any at this point. If the charges are federal charges an individual goes before a grand jury instead of a preliminary hearing. Grand jury trials are private hearings comprised of 23 citizens. The only one allowed to present in this hearing is the jury, prosecutor, and any witnesses the prosecutors deems necessary. The witnesses can only enter one at a time and have to leave immediately after giving there testimony. A formal arraignment takes place within 30 days from......

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...Three Briefs Helen Mayes Kaplan University PA205: Introduction to Legal Analysis and Writing June 26, 2012 Citation- Mitchell v. Lovington Good Samaritan Center, Inc. 555 P.2d 696 (N.M. 1976) Facts- 1. Plaintiff (Mrs. Mitchell) was terminated from her job at Lovington good Samaritan Center, Inc., due to alleged misconduct. Plaintiff then filed for unemployment compensation benefits. Due to the finding from the deputy of the Unemployment Security Commission Mrs. Mitchell was denied benefits for seven weeks. Plaintiff appealed the decision and was granted her money. The Unemployment center appealed that ruling and the first ruling went back into effect. Mrs. Mitchell appealed that ruling applied for and was granted certiorari from the decision. The Plaintiff’s money was reinstated to her by the District Court. 2. Mrs. Mitchell was terminated from her job on June 4, 1974. On April 2 and April 3, 1974, Plaintiff went to work out of uniform. The first day she was told to go home and change she refused to do so, however, on the second day she did as she was told. Then on May 15, 1974, the plaintiff was singing while working, it was reported as unethical and time- consuming. Another incident happened on May 24, 1974. Mrs. Mitchell was told to change from medications to the floor routine. She was told why she was being switched but she was not co-operative. From that day unit June 4, 1974 Mrs. Mitchell refused to do her job. On June 4, 1974 Mrs. Mitchell went......

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