California Court Hears Appeal on Gay Juror Dismissals

August 5, 2011 - 8:45 AM

PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — A federal appeals case pending in California could determine if trial lawyers should be barred from dismissing potential jurors because they are gay.

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments Thursday in Pasadena that challenge a Los Angeles prosecutor's decision to strike a lesbian from the jury in an assault case against a gay federal inmate.

The Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/omFc2z ) reports a favorable ruling could extend constitutional discrimination protections to homosexuality, along with race, creed and gender.

Inmate Daniel Osazuwa says he hugged a guard who was homophobic and he overreacted. The guard fell and Osazuwa landed on him.

A public defender argues the trial judge erred in dismissing a lesbian from the jury, but a prosecutor says she was let go for another legitimate reason.

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com