The Burger Court (1969–86)

Criminal Law and Procedure

What test is applied by a court if a criminal defendant asserts a Batson claim?

Courts hearing Batson claims apply a three-step process: (1) the defendant must make a prima facie (or basic) showing of using peremptory challenges on the basis of race; (2) the prosecutor must offer a race-neutral explanation for her actions; and (3) the trial court must determine if the defendant has established purposeful discrimination. This means that the defendant’s attorneys must show that the prosecutor’s allegedly race-neutral reasons are pretextual or false.


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