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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:While working at a mall, an off-duty, uniformed police officer ordered two men, who he said were acting suspiciously, to get out of a car parked in the mall’s parking lot. The driver backed the auto toward the officer and then sped forward toward the officer. The officer fired his weapon as he ran out of the auto’s path. Feagins, the driver, was later arrested and charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer. After a jury trial, he was convicted and sentenced to 38 years in prison. HOLDING:Affirmed. Feagins asserts that he was denied his constitutional right to a cross-section of the community in his jury venire because of the district clerk’s practice of allowing potential jurors to initially respond by Internet. As a result of the disparity in Internet access and use between African-Americans and other groups, he argues, this practice systematically excludes African-Americans from the jury selection process. The Supreme Court, in Duren v. Missouri, has crafted a test to determine whether or not a prima facie violation of the cross-section requirement has been established. The defendant must show 1. that the group alleged to be excluded is a distinctive group in the community; 2. that the representation of this group in venires from which juries are selected is not fair and reasonable in relation to the number of such persons in the community; and 3. that this under-representation is due to systematic exclusion of the group in the jury process. The parties agree that Feagins met the first two prongs of the Duren test in this case. The contested issue is whether this was a result of systematic exclusion from the jury process. Exclusion is considered systematic if it is inherent in the jury-selection process. In testimony at trial, a representative from the district clerk’s office stated that 78 percent of Feagins’s venire responded by Internet, and that none of those were African-American. She explained that, because of the desire to counteract the effect of the Internet-usage disparity, each court’s venire is formed in the same proportion of Internet to in-person responses. Because normally about 85 percent of potential jurors county-wide respond by Internet, most venire panels are composed of 85 percent Internet responders. “We hold that any under-representation of African-Americans on Feagins’s jury was not a result of systematic exclusion of African-Americans from the jury process. The district clerk’s practice of allowing initial responses from prospective jurors via the internet and ensuring that the ratio of internet responders to in-person responders is consistent across all venires does not result in systematic exclusion, nor is there any evidence it is intended to do so.” OPINION:Law, CJ. Law, Patterson and Puryear, JJ.

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