Court: Jurors Can't Be Denied Duty for Their Sexual Orientation
BY Michelle Garcia
January 21 2014 7:39 PM ET
Lawyers must not discriminate against potential jurors because of their sexual orientation, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
The panel overturned a jury verdict in a federal trial challenging the cost of HIV medication, because a potential juror was rejected for service on the case, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote that denying gay and lesbian people the right to serve on a jury is a "deplorable tradition" that deems them "underserving of participation in our nation's most cherished rites and rituals."
"To allow peremptory strikes because of assumptions based on sexual orientation is to revoke this civil responsibility, demeaning the dignity of the individual and threatening the impartiality of the judicial system," Reinhardt wrote.
The trial in question was an antitrust case between GlaxoSmithKline and Abbott Laboratories, both manufacturers of drugs that treat HIV. According to Lambda Legal, which submitted an amicus brief regarding the case, Abbott's attorneys turned away a prospective juror because he is gay. Counsel for GSK objected, stating that a 1986 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Batson v. Kentucky, precluded using peremptory challenges to strike jurors based solely on their sexual orientation.
- The Striking Muxe: Mexico's Third Gender
- Gay Tenn. 12-Year-Old Still Fighting the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill He Helped Kill
- WATCH: Honey Maid's Newest Commercial Features Gay Families
- Far-Right Minister: Gays Responsible for Ukraine Crisis
- Op-ed: What People Don't Get About Dismay Over Jared Leto
- Game of Thrones Actor Kristian Nairn Reveals He's Gay
- Media Chicago Monthly Paper Threatens to Out Aldermen 4 min ago
- Travel VIDEO: George Takei at Austin's SXSW Festival 1 hour 27 min ago
- Women WATCH: Bisexuality v. Pansexuality - We Discuss the Difference 1 hour 42 min ago
- Television WATCH: Honey Maid's Newest Commercial Features Gay Families 1 hour 59 min ago
- Women 5 Things That Pissed Us Off This Week: Homegrown Homophobia 2 hours 17 min ago
- Religion Far-Right Minister: Gays Responsible for Ukraine Crisis 2 hours 19 min ago
- Travel Copenhagen: The Gayest Place in 2014 2 hours 49 min ago