DISTRICT COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF FLORIDA FOURTH DISTRICT JOHN PACCHIANA, Appellant, v. STATE OF FLORIDA, Appellee. No. 4D15-3340 [February 14, 2018] Appeal from the Circuit Court for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit, Broward County; Jeffrey R. Levenson, Judge; L.T. Case No. 08- 3720CF10C. Fred Haddad of Haddad & Navarro, PLLC, Fort Lauderdale, for appellant. Pamela Jo Bondi, Attorney General, Tallahassee, and Melanie Dale Saber, Assistant Attorney General, West Palm Beach, for appellee. LEVINE, J. In this case, the state and the trial court ratified the striking of a potential juror based not on her views, but merely because of her membership in a particular religious group. For this reason and for the reasons stated below, we reverse. First, the trial court should not have found the state’s reason for the strike to be genuine and race-neutral because the state did not question the juror regarding her religion before exercising the strike and, even after questioning, nothing in the record showed her religion would prevent her from being a fair and impartial juror. Second, even if the strike were genuinely based on the juror’s religion, a member of a religion that is a cognizable class is protected from being struck from a jury based solely on her faith where there is no evidence that her faith would prevent her from being a fair and impartial juror. Third, striking a potential juror based entirely on her particular religious affiliation, without any evidence that her religion would prevent her from being fair and impartial juror, is an impermissible “religious test” in violation of the United States and Florida Constitutions. The state charged appellant and codefendants with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit first-degree murder. After a joint trial, the jury found appellant guilty as charged. The trial court sentenced appellant to life imprisonment. Appellant raises several issues on appeal, including that the trial court erred in granting a peremptory strike of a prospective juror. Because we find this issue dispositive, we need not address the other issues. A trial court’s decision on whether a peremptory strike has been exercised in a racially discriminatory manner will be affirmed on appeal unless clearly erroneous. Melbourne v. State, 679 So. 2d 759, 764-65 (Fla. 1996). During voir dire, the prospective juror at issue, who is black, completed a juror questionnaire answering questions concerning her occupation, previous juror experience, and the like. On that questionnaire, she listed her hobbies as “reading, witnessing a Jehovah Witness.” In response to the court’s questioning during voir dire, the prospective juror stated that she had worked in customer service, that she was not currently working, and that she wanted to serve on the jury. She was previously on a civil jury that reached a verdict for the plaintiff. She had been the victim of a burglary and her brother was in jail for armed robbery, but that would not impact her ability to be fair and impartial in this case. She confirmed that she was able to serve, that ...

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