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People v. Ojeda.

2022 CO 7. No. 19SC763. Peremptory Challenges—Equal Protection—Constitution and Selection of Jury.

February 14, 2022

Defendant was convicted of kidnapping, sexually assaulting, and shooting a 15-year-old girl based on DNA evidence from the victim’s rape kit. In a split decision, a division of the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that the trial court erred in denying defendant’s challenge to an allegedly discriminatory juror strike under Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986).

On review, the Supreme Court held that because the prosecution offered an explicitly race-based reason for striking Juror R.P., it did not meet its burden of providing a race-neutral explanation for the strike, as required under step two of the Batson test. Accordingly, the division’s judgment was affirmed, albeit on other grounds.

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