Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Fourth Circuit rejects jury selection and evidentiary challenges where city defendants won verdict in wrongful arrest and excessive force case

In Taylor v. Molesky, a panel of the Fourth Circuit including Judges Wilkinson and Shedd and Senior Judge Hamilton concluded in a per curiam opinion that the appellant's arguments about the jury selection and the evidence in his trial against various law enforcement officials and jailers were without merit.

Regarding the jury, Taylor claimed that defense counsel struck a potential juror because of his race in violation of Batson v. Kentucky. The Court concluded on the Batson issue that plaintiff had failed to show that the proffered reason for the peremptory strike was pretextual, even though the stated reason was based in part on the appearance and demeanor of the juror. The Court also found no error in admitting court orders related to the plaintiff, even though they contained judicial findings that were prejudicial to the plaintiff's claims. (Man, I hate that, when the jury gets some exhibit that says some court or some agency already decided part of the case - we've litigated that kind of issue where there were related proceedings before the NLRB or the EEOC or some occupational safety agency.)

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