This panel will provide an overview of recent cases regarding anti-LGBT juror bias. From concerns about the limits placed on voir dire to the discovery of jury bias after a verdict or sentence has been entered, a number of recent cases have addressed bias against LGBT litigants. Panelists will focus on the case of Charles Rhines, a gay man currently on death row in South Dakota. Significant evidence in his case indicates the sentencing jury chose the death penalty over life without parole because of Mr. Rhines’s sexual orientation. This case has been at the U.S. Supreme Court twice in the last two years on a petition for writ of certiorari. The panelists will discuss the application of Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado to this case. This panel will also address the limits that courts can place on questioning potential jurors regarding anti-LGBT bias, focusing on a case currently on appeal in Michigan, People v. Six and the Eleventh Circuit’s decision in Berthiaume v. Smith et al. The panel will touch on other issues surrounding LGBT-related jury bias, including how to address both express and implicit bias during jury selection and challenging the discriminatory use of peremptory strikes.
Speakers: Randy Katz (U.S. Department of Justice); Judi O’Kelley (National LGBT Bar Association); Ethan Rice (Lambda Legal); Ria Tabacco Mar (ACLU)