DEMARCO WOLFE A/K/A DEMARICO WOLF A/K/A DEMARCO ANTWAN WOLFE A/K/A DEMARCO ANTWON WOLFE APPELLANT
STATE OF MISSISSIPPI APPELLEE
OF JUDGMENT: 02/17/2016
COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT, FIRST JUDICIAL DISTRICT HON. JEFF WEILL
SR. TRIAL JUDGE
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF STATE PUBLIC DEFENDER BY:
W. DANIEL HINCHCLIFF
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL BY:
ALICIA MARIE AINSWORTH
DISTRICT ATTORNEY: ROBERT SHULER SMITH
GRIFFIS, P.J., CARLTON AND GREENLEE, JJ.
Demarco Wolfe was convicted of aggravated assault,
carjacking, and armed robbery. He was sentenced to serve
concurrent terms of twenty, thirty, and thirty-five years. On
direct appeal, Wolfe argues that the State impermissibly
sought to exclude African American males from the jury in
violation of Batson v. Kentucky, 476 U.S. 79 (1986).
Finding no error, we affirm.
AND PROCEEDINGS BELOW
During jury selection for Wolfe's trial, the State used
two of its peremptory strikes on African American males. A
third African American male was not struck and was selected
to be an alternate juror. Those three individuals were the
only African American males on the two panels of the venire.
The two African American males struck had more than a
thirty-year age difference between them. Several African
American females served on the jury.Wolfe's counsel raised a
Batson challenge, asserting that the State was
deliberately acting to prevent African American males from
serving on the jury.
The State asserted as its race-neutral reason for its
peremptory strikes that those two individuals were
inattentive and unengaged with the proceedings, even though
they were sitting in front of the prosecutor. The State also
noted that one of the individuals had indicated on his jury
questionnaire that he had been a juror before on a criminal
trial, yet failed to respond to the same question asked
verbally to the venire. The defense rebutted that "the
State believes that because they were African American males,
. . . [the State] think[s] that probably . . . they will
empathize with the defendant."
The trial court held that Wolfe did not establish a prima
facie case of discrimination and denied the Batson
challenge. The court noted that one of the three
African American males was not struck and was seated as an
alternate, and that "there are a number of jurors, a
very large number of African American females, that were
accepted by the State without challenge." The case
proceeded to a jury trial, and Wolfe was convicted.
On direct appeal, the only issue Wolfe raises is the trial