should have struck for cause a juror who acknowledged that he would probably give more weight or greater credibility to the testimony of a police officer, simply because he was a police officer (SC 4/24/2008)

FUGETT V. COM
CRIMINAL:  Jury Selection; Strike for Cause
2006-SC-000051-MR.pdf
PUBLISHED: REVERSING
OPINION BY SCOTT; CUNNINGHAM DISSENTS BY SEP OP; ABRAMSON NOT SITTING
JEFFERSON COUNTY
DATE RENDERED: 4/24/2008

Relying upon Shane v. Commonwealth, 243 S.W.3d 336 (Ky. 2007), SC reversed Fugett’s convictions and 30 year sentence for two counts of Manslaughter in the Second Degree and one count of Tampering with Physical Evidence. In Shane, SC held if a court abuses its discretion in denying a challenge for cause and the party had to use a peremptory challenge to strike the juror and, in fact, used all his peremptory challenges, it is reversible error. Here, TC should have struck for cause a juror who acknowledged that he would probably give more weight or greater credibility to the testimony of a police officer, simply because he was a police officer.

TC did not err in applying KRS 29A.060(4). Fugett was not denied a jury pool made up of a fair cross section of the community. Concerning the Batson challenge, the record shows the three-step process was applied properly and the court complied with its duty in evaluating the reasons offered . Under these circumstances, TC did not err in rejecting Fugett’s Batson challenge. TC did not err in denying Fugett’s motion to suppress his statements. TC did not abuse its discretion when it concluded Fugett had failed to establish the corroborating circumstances required under KRE 804(b)(3).

Digested by Scott Byrd, Olgin and Byrd Attorneys

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