CJ Griffin and Raymond M. Brown Quoted in Articles in Law360 and in New Jersey Law Journal Regarding "Monumental" NJ Supreme Court Ruling on Implicit Bias in Jury Selection

CJ Griffin, Director of the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, and Raymond M. Brown, partner at Pashman Stein, were quoted in New Jersey Law Journal article, “Unanimous NJ Supreme Court Rules Selective Background Checks Are Discriminatory.” The article discusses the recent New Jersey Supreme Court decision in State v. Edwin Andujar (A-6-20)(084167), in which CJ Griffin and Raymond M. Brown represented the Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys of New Jersey as amicus curiae. In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court upheld the Appellate Division decision overturning the defendant’s conviction, asserting that a prosecutor cannot unilaterally run a criminal background check on a juror without judicial approval.

The Supreme Court agreed with the argument set forth in our brief that the prosecutors were driven by implicit racial bias when they ran a criminal background check on a Black juror and had him arrested (after the judge refused to remove him for cause); incorporated implicit bias into the Batson/Gilmore test and discussed how implicit bias is just as harmful as intentional discrimination; held that prosecutors may no longer run criminal background checks on jurors without obtaining court permission first; and reversed the defendant’s murder conviction. In addition, the Supreme Court is convening a Judicial Conference on Jury Selection this fall to address how to eliminate discrimination from the jury selection process, stating: “We invite the legal community as a whole to take part in a probing conversation about additional steps needed to root out discrimination in the selection of juries.”

Raymond Brown and CJ Griffin at Pashman Stein Walder Hayden jointly represented amicus curiae ACDL-NJ.

“It’s a very thoughtful decision,” said Brown in a phone call. “I don’t know how many state supreme courts have gone this far in this realm, in terms of reaching out to implicit bias. This is monumental.”

“The court has said that implicit bias will not be permitted in jury selection,” Brown added. “And if implicit bias is injected into that process, it can result in a constitutional defect. It could cause even a murder conviction to be reversed. It’s a very forward-leaning opinion.”

Added Griffin: “It’s a recognition … that we shouldn’t just focus on intentional bias, but implicit bias is just as problematic.”

For the full text of the New Jersey Law Journal article, click here.

Griffin and Brown were also quoted in a Law360 article discussing the case, “NJ High Court Sets Rules For Criminal Checks on Jurors.”

Raymond M. Brown and CJ Griffin of Pashman Stein Walder Hayden PC argued in the case on an amicus brief for the Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers of New Jersey.


"It is important that the court recognized the harms caused by implicit racial bias," Griffin told Law360 Pulse. "This decision is the beginning of a critical process of evaluating all the ways that implicit bias and discrimination infect our jury selection procedures, and I hope that advocates will have a meaningful role in shaping the reforms."


Brown agreed, adding that it "is also significant that the court prohibited the state from making use of unilateral resources, like, in this case criminal record checks, not available to the defense."


"This case is an important precedent that will be cited by other state supreme courts around the nation," he told Law360 Pulse.

To view the Law360 article, click here.