from the Iowa District Court for Scott County, Stuart P.
defendant appeals from his convictions for eluding, theft in
the second degree, and accessory after the fact. REVERSED AND
Christopher M. Soppe of Pioneer Law Office, Dubuque, for
J. Miller, Attorney General, and Timothy M. Hau, Assistant
Attorney General, for appellee.
Considered by Potterfield, P.J., and Doyle and Tabor, JJ.
POTTERFIELD, Presiding Judge.
Miller appeals from his convictions for eluding, theft in the
second degree, and accessory after the fact. Miller maintains
the State's use of two of its peremptory strikes to
remove the only two black potential jurors was racially
motivated, in violation of Batson v. Kentucky, 476
U.S. 79, 89 (1986). The trial court rejected that claim, and
on appeal Miller maintains the court's ruling was in
a Batson challenge implicates the constitution, we
review this claim de novo. See State v. Griffin, 564
N.W.2d 370, 372 (Iowa 1997) ("We review the
defendant's constitutional challenges de novo.").
Equal Protection Clause prohibits prosecutors from using
peremptory strikes to remove potential jurors from serving
"solely on account of their race." Batson,
476 U.S. at 89.
Under our Batson jurisprudence, once the opponent of
a peremptory challenge has made out a prima facie case of
racial discrimination (step one), the burden of production
shifts to the proponent of the strike to come forward with a
race-neutral explanation (step two). If a race-neutral
explanation is tendered, the trial court must then decide
(step three) whether the opponent of the strike has proved
purposeful racial discrimination.
State v. Mootz, 808 N.W.2d 207, 215 (Iowa 2012). To
establish a prima facie case, Miller must show (1) he is a
member of a cognizable racial group, (2) the prosecutor used
peremptory challenges to remove a member of a cognizable
racial group from the jury; and (3) the "facts and any
other relevant circumstances raise an inference that the
prosecutor used the strike to exclude" the juror on the
account of the juror's race. See Batson, 476
U.S. at 96; see also Powers v. Ohio, 499 U.S. 400,
416 (1991) (holding the defendant and the prospective juror
do not have to be the same race to qualify for a
Batson challenge). "In determining whether a
defendant has established the requisite showing of purposeful
discrimination, the court should consider all relevant
circumstances including, but not limited to, a pattern of
strikes against black jurors, as well as the prosecutor's
questions and statements during voir dire." State v.
Knox, 464 N.W.2d 445, 448 (Iowa 1990).
it is undisputed that Miller is black and the prosecutor
struck two potential jurors who were black. The question for
the prima facie case is whether there are circumstances that
"raise an inference that the prosecutor used the strike
to exclude" jurors on the account of race.
State maintained that it had struck the first of the
potential jurors because she indicated she had a negative
experience with law enforcement. When asked about the
details, the potential juror stated that her granddaughter
was killed by an off-duty police officer who was driving
sixty miles per hour in a school zone. When she was asked if
it would be difficult for her to serve on a criminal case,
No. It's just that, if I could have met him and, you
know, asked him some questions. Why? Why would he go so fast
in a school zone? He wasn't ticketed. He wasn't
nothing, and I don't feel that that was right because he
should have got a ticket or something for going that fast in
a school zone. I would be ticketed if I were going that fast
in a school zone and hit a kid. I probably would have went to
jail. I know I would have, and it just wasn't right. But