Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

STATE v. BELNAVIS

March 2, 1990.

STATE OF KANSAS, Appellee,
v.
DONOVAN M. BELNAVIS, Appellant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by

This is a direct appeal by Donovan Belnavis, who was convicted by a jury in Wyandotte County of three counts of sale of cocaine, contrary to K.S.A. 65-4127a. The trial court sustained the State's motion to invoke the enhancement provisions of the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, K.S.A. 65-4127a, and imposed concurrent sentences of 10 to 20 years. The sentences for sale of cocaine are to run consecutively to sentences already

[246 Kan. 310]

      imposed by the circuit court of Jackson County, Missouri, for previous drug offenses.

The facts are not in dispute. On June 20, 1988, Donovan Belnavis, a black male, was charged in Wyandotte County District Court with three counts of sale of cocaine. After a preliminary hearing, the case was set for trial on October 3, 1988.

  During the trial, after voir dire, Belnavis moved for a mistrial on the grounds that the prosecutor systematically excluded black veniremen from the jury through use of peremptory challenges. The prosecutor denied striking the two veniremen based upon their race and stated that he struck Miss Cooper because she did detail work with photography and struck Miss Small because she was a young person likely to be sympathetic to Belnavis. The motion for mistrial was denied. Trial proceeded, and on October 4, 1988, the jury returned a guilty verdict on all counts of sale of cocaine.

  A post-trial hearing was held on Belnavis' motion for a new trial. Belnavis' motion was based upon the State's use of peremptory challenges to exclude two black persons from the jury panel. The district court denied Belnavis' motion and Belnavis appealed.

  The sole issue on appeal is whether the State exhibited purposeful racial discrimination in using peremptory challenges to strike two black persons from the jury panel.

  In Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 90 L.Ed.2d 69, 106 S.Ct. 1712 (1986), the United States Supreme Court found that the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution forbids prosecutors from exercising peremptory challenges against potential jurors solely on account of their race or on an assumption that black jurors as a group will be unable to impartially consider the State's case against a black defendant. 476 U.S. at 89.

  In order to question the State's use of peremptory challenges, a defendant must make a prima facie showing of purposeful discrimination in the State's selection of the jury. In Batson, the court set forth requisite elements which a defendant must show to establish purposeful discrimination:

  "[T]he defendant first must show that he is a member of a cognizable racial group [citation omitted], and that the prosecutor has exercised peremptory challenges to remove from the venire members of the defendant's race.

[246 Kan. 311]

      Second, the defendant is entitled to rely on the fact, as to which there can be no dispute, that peremptory challenges constitute a jury selection practice that permits `those to discriminate who are of a mind to discriminate.' [Citation omitted.] Finally, the defendant must show that these facts and any other relevant circumstances raise an inference that the prosecutor used that practice to exclude the veniremen from the petit jury on account of their race. This combination of factors in the empaneling of the petit jury, as in the selection of the venire, raises the necessary inference of purposeful discrimination." 476 U.S. at 96.

  Once the defendant makes a prima facie showing of purposeful discrimination, the burden shifts to the State to come forward with a neutral explanation for challenging black jurors. The prosecutor's explanation, however, need not rise to the level of justifying an exercise of a challenge for cause. 476 U.S. at 97. On the other hand,
"the prosecutor may not rebut the defendant's prima facie case of discrimination by stating merely that he challenged jurors of the defendant's race on the assumption — or his intuitive judgment — that they would be partial to the defendant because of their shared race. [Citations omitted.] . . . Nor may the prosecutor rebut the defendant's case merely by denying that the had a discriminatory motive or `affirm[ing] [his] good faith in making individual selections.'" 476 U.S. at 97-98.
  This rule, as stated in Batson, was adopted in toto by the Kansas Supreme Court in State v. Hood, 242 Kan. 115, 744 P.2d 816 (1987).

  In the present case, Donovan Belnavis is a 22-year-old black male of Jamaican descent. The original venire panel consisted of thirty-three people. The record shows that four of the first twenty-four people on the venire list were also black. Each party exercised six peremptory challenges as provided by statute. K.S.A. 22-3412(c). The prosecution used its two final peremptory challenges to exclude two black females from the jury panel. Belnavis' attorney also used a peremptory challenge to exclude a black male from the panel for the reason that he knew one of the State's witnesses. From the next three names on the venire list, each party exercised one peremptory ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.