Supreme Court Restores Rape Conviction, Chiding 9th Circuit


The Supreme Court unanimously restored the conviction of a California rapist yesterday and rebuked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for handing down an opinion it called “inexplicable” and “dismissive” in tone, the Los Angeles Times reports. It was the 10th time since November that the justices had reversed rulings of the 9th Circuit, nearly all of the decisions unanimous.

The justices have repeatedly faulted the San Francisco-based appeals court for intervening in state criminal cases and second-guessing rulings of the California state courts. Their opinion reflected an unusual tone of irritation. The latest case arose after a jury convicted Steven Jackson of raping and robbing a 72-year-old woman in her apartment. The dispute concerned the selection of jurors. When the two sides were screening potential jurors, the prosecutor acted to remove two African Americans and cited aspects of their background. The defense attorney for Jackson, who is African American, questioned the moves, but the trial judge agreed the prosecutor had valid “race neutral” reasons for removing the pair. Only one African American was on the jury.

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