Mayes v. Premo

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Habeas Corpus
  • Date Filed: 03-27-2014
  • Case #: 12-35461
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Murguia for the Court, Circuit Judge Christen; Dissent by Circuit Judge Pregerson
  • Full Text Opinion

When determining whether to grant a writ habeas corpus based on racial discrimination, totality of the circumstances must be considered, and just a close comparative juror analysis is not sufficient to undermine the prosecutor’s credibility.

Floyd M. Mayes was convicted of multiple charges including felony murder. During voir dire a black juror was stricken by the prosecution. Mayes appeals his conviction based on the argument that (1) one of the potential jurors was stricken based on race and (2) the admittance of a hearsay statement. The panel affirmed the denial of a 28 U.S.C. § 2254 habeas corpus petition. The panel held that, when looking at the totality of the circumstances and considering the double deferential standard of review, the background checks and for-cause strikes for the jurors do not undermine the prosecutor’s credibility that the striking was not based on race. Also, the comparison between the African American juror’s concerns with the co-defendant’s credibility to the white juror’s, was not enough to undermine the prosecutor’s credibility. The panel also held that a self-inculpatory statement made in private to friends or family is reliable and admissible and constitutes a reasonable application of the Roberts framework, and even if it was not admissible Mayes could not have shown actual prejudice because the statement was not very important, it was corroborated and there was sufficient cross-examination. AFFIRMED

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