Beyond Strickland Prejudice: Weaver, Batson, and Procedural Default

A Batson violation—racially discriminatory jury selection—is a structural error,
“not amenable” to harmless error review on direct appeal. By definition, structural
errors evade traditional prejudice analysis. But, when a petitioner argues on
collateral review that their trial counsel provided ineffective assistance by failing to
object to a Batson violation, a number of circuits require a showing of Strickland
prejudice. As some of these courts recognize, they demand the impossible.

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