State v. Jackson, 215 N.C. App. 339 (Sept. 6, 2011)

The trial court did not err by denying the defendant’s motion to discharge the jury venire on grounds that the defendants’ race (African-American) was disproportionately underrepresented. To establish a prima facie violation for disproportionate representation in a venire, a defendant must show that: (1) the group alleged to be excluded is a “distinctive” group in the community; (2) the representation of this group in venires from which juries are selected is not fair and reasonable in relation to the number of such persons in the community; and (3) this underrepresentation is due to systematic exclusion of the group in the jury selection process. Although the defendants met their burden with respect to the first prong, they failed to satisfy the other prongs. As to the second prong, the defendants failed to produce any evidence that the representation African-Americans was not fair and reasonable in relation to the number of such persons in the community. Defendants stated that the African-American population in the county was “certainly greater than . . . five percent” but produced no supporting evidence. As to the third prong, the defendants presented no evidence showing that the alleged deficiency of African-Americans in the venire was because of the systematic exclusion. Although the defendants noted that only three out of 60 potential jurors were African-American, this fact was insufficient to show systematic exclusion.