Friday, July 1, 2022

Washington Supreme Court: Prosecutor who asked jury about immigration, border wall committed racial bias, misconduct

"This case involves the issue of whether the prosecutor committed misconduct when, during jury selection, he repeatedly asked the potential jurors about their views on unlawful immigration, border security, undocumented immigrants, and crimes committed by undocumented immigrants. We conclude that the prosecutor’s questions and remarks apparently intentionally appealed to the jurors’ potential racial or ethnic bias, prejudice, or stereotypes and therefore constitute race-based prosecutorial misconduct. Joseph Zamora1 was charged and convicted of two counts of third degree assault of a police officer, which the Court of Appeals affirmed. We reverse the Court of Appeals and vacate the convictions."

The Fred T. Korematsu Center for Law and Equality at Seattle University School of Law, American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, King County Department of Public Defense, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project,
OneAmerica, Public Defender Association, Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and Washington Defender Association filed a joint brief as amici curiae in support of the defendant.


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