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Prosecutor Must Release Records in Batson/Wheeler Claim

People v. Superior Court (Jones) Court: Supreme Court of California, Docket: S255826, Opinion Date: December 2, 2021.The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court granting Defendant's motion for postconviction discovery under Cal. Penal Code 1054.9 giving Defendant access to the prosecutor's jury selection notes, holding that there was no error. In 1994, Defendant was convicted of capital murder and sentenced to death. Decades later, Defendant filed a habeas corpus petition claiming that the prosecution had used peremptory strikes to discriminate against prospective jurors, in violation of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986) and People v. Wheeler, 22 Cal.3d 258 (1978). Defendant also filed, in connection with the petition, a motion for postconviction discovery seeking access to the prosecutor's jury selection notes. The trial court granted the motion, and the court of appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district attorney may not invoke the attorney work product protection to withhold information necessary to the fair adjudication of Defendant's Batson/Wheeler claim.

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