After relisting the case six times, today the Court denied certiorari in Floyd v. Alabama, 16-9304. In Floyd, the issue was whether, when the Alabama Supreme Court failed to apply the reasoning and analysis mandated by the Supreme Court's decision in Foster v. Chatman, the U.S. Supreme Court should intervene to enforce its precedents following Batson v. Kentucky, which prohibit discrimination in jury selection on the basis of race or gender. Specifically, during voir dire, “the Houston County District Attorney’s Office exercised peremptory challenges against 10 out of 11 qualified African-American venire members, and used 12 of its 18 strikes against women. The prosecutor also marked the letter ‘B,’ as in black, next to the name of each potential African-American juror.”
Justice Sotomayor, joined by Justice Breyer, made a statement respecting the denial of certiorari. Justice Sotomayor stated that although the unique context of Floyd’s case counseled against review by the Court, courts reviewing claims in circumstances like those indicated above “must be steadfast in identifying, investigating, and correcting for improper bias in the jury selection process.”
Justice Sotomayor’s statement is available as the last two-pages of the Court’s Order list issued today. The Training Division provides resource materials to capital trial and federal capital habeas counsel through the Capital Defense Network.