Appeal from Jefferson Circuit Court. (CC-92-1435).
McMILLAN, Judge. All Judges concur.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Mcmillan
The appellant, Richard Thomas Vanderslice, was convicted of murder, a violation of § 13A-6-2, Code of Alabama 1975. He was sentenced to 25 years' imprisonment.
The appellant, a white male, argues that the trial court committed reversible error in denying his motion made pursuant to Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79, 106 S.Ct. 1712, 90 L. Ed. 2d 69 (1986), on grounds that the State allegedly wrongfully used six of its seven peremptory strikes to remove white veniremembers from the jury venire. See Williams v. State, 634 So.2d 1034 (Ala.Cr.App. 1993) (Batson applies to the striking of white veniremembers.)
In denying the appellant's motion, the trial court stated:
"We ended with five white males, four white females, one black male, and three black females, which is about where we started. I find there is no case in that. I detected no questions being asked to elicit remarks that would seek to find a racial reason."
Here, the trial court specifically found that "no questions [were] asked [by the State] to elicit remarks that would seek to find a racial reason." Because the trial court's finding was based on his observations during voir dire and therefore was based on more than "mere numbers," his ruling that the appellant had failed to prove a prima facie case of racial discrimination was correct. Cf. Ex parte Thomas, [Ms. 1921804, September 2, 1994] ___So.2d ___ (Ala. 1994).
The appellant further argues that the trial court erred in denying his motion made pursuant to Batson v. Kentucky, supra, on the ground that the State exercised all of its peremptory strikes against males in a gender-based discriminatory manner.
After the appellant made this Batson motion on the basis of gender, the trial court made the following statement:
"THE COURT: All right. It appears, Gentlemen, as I read the paper today on November 3, 1993, there was argument before the U.S. Supreme Court this very date where Alabama is seeking to make law that the exercise of peremptory challenges for gender reason only is to be condemned and made improper. But I will find as of this date that is not the law.
"But I will find it is clear to me that the State has exercised prima facie--the State's strikes were exercised in a manner discriminatory in view of the gender of the defendant in this case. Seven out of seven males is pretty tough to refute. Although it should reflect on the ...