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Hastings Law Journal

Abstract

The criminal defendant's right to inquire into the possible racial and ethnic prejudices of prospective jurors during voir dire examination has been restricted by the Supreme Court. This Comment traces the development of the Court's reasoning with regard to this right through the analyses of four seminal Supreme Court cases. The focus of this Comment is on the most recent pronouncement of the Supreme Court in this area, Rosales-Lopez v. United States. After discussing the implications of the Court's opinion in Rosales- Lopez, the Comment concludes that a constitutional standard protecting the right of all criminal defendants to direct questions to prospective jurors aimed at eliciting possible racial and ethnic prejudices during the voir dire examination is essential to ensure the sixth and fourteenth amendments' guarantee of a fair and impartial trial.

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