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Criminal Law

University of Kentucky

Texas

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Performing Discretion Or Performing Discrimination: An Analysis Of Race And Ritual In Batson Decisions In Capital Jury Selection, Melynda J. Price Oct 2009

Performing Discretion Or Performing Discrimination: An Analysis Of Race And Ritual In Batson Decisions In Capital Jury Selection, Melynda J. Price

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

Research shows the mere presence of Blacks on capital juries--on the rare occasions they are seated--can mean the difference between life and death. Peremptory challenges are the primary method to remove these pivotal participants. Batson v. Kentucky developed hearings as an immediate remedy for the unconstitutional removal of jurors through racially motivated peremptory challenges. These proceedings have become rituals that sanction continued bias in the jury selection process and ultimately affect the outcome of capital trials. This Article deconstructs the role of the Batson ritual in legitimating the removal of African American jurors. These perfunctory hearings fail to meaningfully interrogate …


Litigating Salvation: Race, Religion And Innocence In The Karla Faye Tucker And Gary Graham Cases, Melynda J. Price Apr 2006

Litigating Salvation: Race, Religion And Innocence In The Karla Faye Tucker And Gary Graham Cases, Melynda J. Price

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

The cases of Karla Faye Tucker and Gary Graham represent two examples of the renewed public debate about the death penalty in the State of Texas, and how religion and race affect that debate. This article explores how the Tucker and Graham cases represent opposing possibilities for understanding contemporary narratives of the death penalty. Though the juxtaposition of these two cases is not completely symmetrical, if viewed as a kaleidoscope—a complex set of factors filtered through the shifting identities of the person who is at the center of the immediate case—the hidden operations of race and religion can be examined. …