Published on: Sunday, February 5, 2023

Alleged gang member is convicted of witness retaliation and sentenced to three years in prison after attacking a former member of his gang on the street in the Bronx. At trial, man asks court to explore potential gang bias during jury selection. Trial court: no, it would be “improper,” and will only ask general questions, never mentioning gangs. Second Circuit: no. New trial. The defense was not allowed to sufficiently screen for anti-gang bias among the jurors. "[D]istrict judges are afforded broad discretion in conducting voir dire. That discretion, however, is not boundless." Court has an obligation to screen for bias during jury selection so the defendant can intelligently exercise challenges to potential jurors.

The case is United States v. Nieves, No. 21-1901 (2d Cir. Jan. 26, 2023).