Teague v. Lane

LOCATION: Circuit Court of Orange County, Florida

DOCKET NO.: 87-5259
DECIDED BY: Rehnquist Court (1988-1990)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

CITATION: 489 US 288 (1989)
ARGUED: Oct 04, 1988
DECIDED: Feb 22, 1989

David E. Bindi - on behalf of the Respondents
Patricia Unsinn - on behalf of the Petitioner

Facts of the case


Media for Teague v. Lane

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - October 04, 1988 in Teague v. Lane

William H. Rehnquist:

We'll hear evidence next in Number 87-5259, Frank Dean Teague against Michael Lane.

You may proceed whenever you're ready, Ms. Unsinn.

Patricia Unsinn:

Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court, the petitioner in this case was tried before a jury from which all black representation was removed by use of the peremptory challenge.

Although 11 of the 32 jurors who withstood challenges for cause were black, the prosecutor exercised all 10 of the peremptory challenges allotted to him by statute to remove 10 black jurors from that panel.

The defense exercised one of its challenges against the remaining black juror... she was married to a police officer, and his client was charged with attempted murder of a police officer.

The result was that the petitioner was tried before a jury which was not representative of the community which was 25 percent black.

This case thus presents the question of whether the Sixth Amendment bars the prosecutor's use of the peremptory challenge to defeat the possibility that the petit jury will be representative of a fair cross section of the community.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Ms. Unsinn, may I interrupt you there to inquire whether... if this Court were to adopt the other part of Justice Harlan's view of retroactivity on collateral review, whether we would be able to reach your Sixth Amendment argument at all?

Patricia Unsinn:

Yes, Judge, I believe you would because--

Sandra Day O'Connor:


This comes to us on Federal habeas, right?

Patricia Unsinn:

--Yes, Judge, but--

Sandra Day O'Connor:

And under Justice Harlan's view, any new right recognized wouldn't be retroactive.

And wouldn't we just be rendering an advisory opinion, then, on the Sixth Amendment question if we were to adopt that view?

Patricia Unsinn:

--No, Justice O'Connor, we don't believe that we're proposing any new rule in our Sixth Amendment argument.

We're merely asking this Court to apply its precedents to a different factual situation than it has previously addressed.

Sandra Day O'Connor:

Well, suppose we continue to follow our holding in Allen against Hardy, rather than your view of when that rule was adopted.

Patricia Unsinn:

Judge, my answer remains the same.

We're not proposing a new or a different rule.

The Respondents... this Court is taking great care to ensure that the jury pool from which the petit jury is selected is representative of the community.

It's the Respondent's position, and they find support for this position in language of this Court in Lockhart v. McCree, that extension of the fair cross section requirement to the petit jury would be unworkable and unsound.

That so long as all distinctive groups in the community are represented on the jury pool... the Sixth Amendment imposes no limitation on the ability of the prosecutor to remove those same distinctive groups from the petit jury.

We suggest that accepting this argument would make the fair cross section requirement meaningless.

It would allow the--

William H. Rehnquist:

It was accepted in Lockhart v. McCree, wasn't it?

Patricia Unsinn:

--The fair cross section requirement?

William H. Rehnquist:

Extended to a petit jury?

Patricia Unsinn:

Well, Judge, as I said, there was language in the opinion suggesting that this was correct.

William H. Rehnquist:

Well, you think that that does not mean that that was accepted, if it was simply language in the opinion, as you refer to it?

Patricia Unsinn:

Well, Judge, it was certainly a conclusion--