ALVARADO V. UNITED STATES, 497 U. S. 543 (1990)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Alvarado v. United States, 497 U.S. 543 (1990)

Alvarado v. United States

No. 89-6985

Decided June 25, 1990

497 U.S. 543


Petitioner Alvarado claimed at his criminal trial that the Government used peremptory challenges to remove black jurors solely because of race, contrary to Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U. S. 79. The District Court accepted the Government's explanations for its challenges, and Alvarado was convicted. In affirming the conviction, the Court of Appeals did not rule on Alvarado's argument that the Government's explanations were pretextual or the Government's arguments that he had not made out a prima facie Batson error, and that it had race-neutral reasons for the challenges. The court held, instead, that no appellate inquiry was required into the merits of a Batson claim if the jury finally chosen represented a fair cross section of the community.

Held: The case is remanded for the Court of Appeals to pass on the adequacy of the Government's reasons for exercising its peremptory challenges. The Government agrees that the Court of Appeals' judgment rests on an improvident ground. Thus, it is appropriate for this Court to grant certiorari, vacate the judgment below, and direct reconsideration in light of the representations made by the United States in this Court. See, e.g., Biddle v. United States, 484 U.S. 1054. This result is not unusual even when, as here, the Government has suggested that there is another ground on which the decision below could be affirmed if the case were brought in this Court.

Certiorari granted; 891 F.2d 439 vacated and remanded.


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