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There are three showings a criminal defendant must make to establish a prima facie violation of the Sixth Amendment's fair-cross-section requirement. He or she must show (1) that the group alleged to be excluded is a distinctive group in the community; (2) that the representation of this group in venires from which juries are selected is not fair and reasonable in relation to the number of such persons in the community; and (3) that this underrepresentation is due to systematic exclusion of the group in the jury-selection process.
At voir dire in the Kent County Circuit Court trial of respondent Smith, an African-American, the venire panel included between 60 and 100 individuals, only 3 of whom, at most, were African-American. At that time, African-Americans constituted 7.28% of the County's jury-eligible population, and 6% of the pool from which potential jurors were drawn. The court rejected Smith's objection to the panel's racial composition, an all-white jury convicted him of second-degree murder and felony firearm possession, and the court sentenced him to life in prison with the possibility of parole. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed a dismissal of Smith’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus based upon his Sixth Amendment fair-cross-section claim. The warden, Mary Berghuis, filed for a petition for certiorari.
Did the state court's decision that Smith's jury satisfied fair-cross-section requirement under Federal Constitution's Sixth Amendment involve unreasonable application of clearly established United States Supreme Court precedent under 28 U.S.C.S. § 2254(d)?
The Court disagreed with the Sixth Circuit that the Michigan Supreme Court's rejection of Smith’s Sixth Amendment plea involved an unreasonable application of clearly established federal law, as determined by the Court in Duren v. Missouri. Smith’s evidence scarcely showed that the assignment order he targeted caused underrepresentation. The assignment order assigned prospective jurors first to local district courts, and, only after filling local needs, made remaining persons available to the countywide circuit court. Although the record established that some officials and others in the county believed that the assignment order created racial disparities, and the county reversed the order in response, the belief was not substantiated by Smith’s evidence.