Allen v. Hardy
Annotate this Case
478 U.S. 255 (1986)
U.S. Supreme Court
Allen v. Hardy, 478 U.S. 255 (1986)
Allen v. Hardy
Decided June 30, 1986
478 U.S. 255
At his Illinois state court trial, which resulted in murder convictions, petitioner, a black man, moved unsuccessfully to discharge the jury on the ground that the prosecutor's use of peremptory challenges to strike black and Hispanic veniremen violated petitioner's right to an impartial jury selected from a cross-section of the community. Affirming the convictions, the Illinois Appellate Court upheld the trial judge's refusal to discharge the jury, since the record did not establish systematic exclusion of minorities by prosecutors in the jurisdiction, as required by Swain v. Alabama, 380 U. S. 202. Petitioner then filed federal habeas corpus proceedings, renewing his argument concerning the State's use of peremptory challenges. The District Court denied relief, and both the District Court and the Court of Appeals denied petitioner's request for a certificate of probable cause to appeal. In his petition for certiorari, petitioner argued that the Court of Appeals' refusal to issue a certificate of probable cause was erroneous in view of the fact that Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U. S. 79, was pending before this Court at the time of the Court of Appeals' decision, and that the Batson rule should be available to him as a ground for relief on remand. Batson overruled the portion of Swain which held that, although the use of peremptory challenges to strike black jurors on account of race violates the Equal Protection Clause, a defendant cannot establish such a violation solely on proof of the prosecutor's action at his own trial.
Held: The Batson rule should not be applied retroactively on collateral review of convictions that became final before Batson was announced. A decision announcing a new constitutional rule of criminal procedure is almost automatically nonretroactive where the decision explicitly overrules past precedent. A traditional factor for consideration is the purpose to be served by the new rule, with retroactive effect being appropriate where the rule is designed to enhance the accuracy of criminal trials. The Batson rule may have some bearing on the truthfinding function of a criminal trial, but it also serves the purposes of ensuring that the States do not discriminate against citizens who are summoned to sit in judgment against a member of their own race, and of strengthening public confidence in the administration of justice. The rule in Batson was designed to serve multiple ends, and it does not have such a fundamental
impact on the integrity of factfinding as to compel retroactive application. Moreover, other traditional factors concerning law enforcement authorities' reliance on the old (Swain) rule and the effect of retroactive application of the new (Batson) rule on the administration of justice weigh heavily in favor of nonretroactive effect.
Certiorari granted; affirmed.