NEW YORK (AP) - A Long Island man will get a new trial after a state appeals court found a juror was improperly dismissed because of his race.
Richard Fabregas was initially convicted in 2011 of a second-degree weapons possession charge.
The court decision handed down Wednesday says Fabregas will need a new trial because the prosecutor in the case acted “in a discriminatory manner” by asking for a Hispanic juror to be excused.
She argued that the man appeared not to understand the judge’s questions.
At the time, Fabregas’ lawyer told the judge it was because of the man’s race. Fabregas is also Hispanic.
The appeals court later deemed it a “race-based challenge.” The court said such a challenge is illegal.
A spokesman for acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said Saturday that her office respects the court’s decision but disagrees with its finding that the juror’s race was a factor. He said the prosecutor did not object to the man serving on the jury because of his race and noted that the appeals court acknowledged the juror did not initially understand the judge’s questions, which the prosecutor gave as the reason she asked for him to be dismissed.
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