Berkeley Murder Rehearing Over Black Juror Exclusion

Two men convicted of killing a Brinks Armored car guard during a Berkeley robbery have one a federal appeals court’s reconsideration of their claims that black prospective jurors were improperly excluded from their 2001 trial.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal Thursday agreed to rehear the habeas appeals of Robert McDaniels and Keelon Jenkins originally convicted in 1997 of the shooting death of the Brinks guard.

That conviction was reversed by a California appeals court and in 2001 both men were again found guilty of murder and use of a fire arm during a robbery.  They were sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

Having lost appeals in state court, McDaniels and Jenkins filed habeas claims in federal court arguing the prosecutor excluded African-American jurors based on race during jury selection.

They contend that the prosecutor challenged seven out of 10 African-Americans called as potential jurors and that the prosecutor improperly excluded four of those based on race.

In July 2014, a three-judge panel affirmed the trial court’s decision rejected their claims.

A majority of the 9th Circuit’s voting judges agreed to reconsider their case en banc with an 11-judge panel.

No date has been set for arguments in the case.

Case:  McDaniels v. Kirkland, No. 09-17339  (three-judge panel)



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