Thursday, January 17, 2019

Milestones: Commonwealth v. Long, 419 Mass. 798 (Mass. 1995)


Defendant, a Cambodian American, was convicted of first degree murder, armed robbery, etc. During voir dire, one of the jurors stated he would "lean to the police officer over the civilian" and he "opposed the Khmer Rouge." The defendant's counsel challenged for cause, but the juror was seated.

The Massachusetts Supreme Court reversed the appellate court affirming the district court's decision and vacated the conviction. The court noted that the juror only said "I would really hope that I could be [fair]," which was not sufficient when there was a flag that there could potentially be racial bias.


This decision seems correct, but at the same time oddly formulaic.

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