United States v. Birchette (P)

After a jury convicted the appellant of several firearm- and drug-related offenses, he requested leave to interview jurors for evidence of racial animus. The district court did not abuse its discretion in denying his request.

In consideration of the Eastern District’s Local Rules, a party should give the court sound reason to believe that racial animus was a significant motivating factor in the juror’s vote to convict. Here, the appellant’s evidence that “a white lady” referenced race need not suggest that the speaker, assuming she was even a juror, had racial animus that in any way impacted her vote to convict. The statements fall short of the statements presented in Peña-Rodriguez v. Colorado, 137 S. Ct. 855, 869 (2017), in which a juror allegedly argued for a guilty verdict because the defendant was Mexican.


United States v. Birchette (P), No. 17-4450, Nov. 7, 2018. 4th Cir. (Wilkinson) from EDVA at Newport News (Allen).

Categories: 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Opinions, Published

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