Case of the Week

Inmate Says Prosecutor Excluded Juror Based On Race

, The Connecticut Law Tribune

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Glenn W. Falk of New Haven Legal Assistance Association

The Law Tribune previews an important or interesting case most weeks when the state Appellate Court or state Supreme Court are in session.

Case: State v. Michael Edwards

Court: Connecticut Supreme Court

Date: Monday, Dec. 9

Time: 10 a.m.

Attorneys: Kathryn Bare; Glenn Falk

Summary: A man convicted of assaulting a correction officer claims he didn't get a fair trial because the prosecutor used a peremptory challenge on a potential juror because the woman appeared to be African American and prosecutors cannot exclude potential jurors solely on account of their race.

Background: Michael Edwards is serving a 50-year prison sentence for murder after being convicted in Hartford Superior Court in 1996. He is doing his time at Corrigan Correctional Institution in Montville.

On Sept. 20, 2010, David Peck, a correction officer, opened Edwards' cell door so he could retrieve the inmate's lunch tray. As Peck turned his back to Edwards in order to open the door to the next cell, the guard felt a blow to the back of the head, causing him to lose his balance and momentarily lose his vision. Peck then felt a second punch to the back of his head. Another officer called out for help and Peck was taken to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a bruise and neck sprain.

Edwards' motive, according to court documents, was to get transferred out of the Corrigan prison. A prison camera captured the entire incident, which was played for the jury at Edwards' assault trial.

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