Topic: Appellate Issues

SCOTUS Upholds Verdict of Improper Foreperson

Late last month the United States Supreme Court upheld the murder conviction of a man, Michael Rivera, who was convicted by a jury whose foreperson, Deloris Gomez, was improperly allowed to sit on the jury. Rivera v. Illinois, 556 U.S. __ (2009). During jury selection, Rivera’s attorney properly attempted to use one of his peremptory strikes against Gomez, but the trial judge wrongfully refused to allow the strike, erroneously believing […]

April 15, 2009

Whitby Walks

Edgar Sylvester Whitby was prosecuted for permanently disfiguring his victim by throwing hot water on her. He was convicted of aggravated battery “by a clearly impartial jury” in an “otherwise error free” trial. But Edgar is a free man today, and the Supreme Court of Florida just turned down the State’s appeal of this case. State v. Whitby, 975 So. 2d 1124 (Fla. 2008). What happened? During jury selection the prosecutor sought to use […]

February 19, 2008

“Prudent Probing” During Jury Selection

A $900,000 plaintiff’s verdict in a rear-end collision case was reinstated last Friday by the Fifth District Court of Appeal even though two jurors had failed to disclose in voir dire that they had been injured and received medical treatment as a result of prior car accidents. During jury selection, plaintiff’s counsel asked THREE times whether anyone had been injured in a car accident, and specifically asked the entire panel “Have any of […]

February 12, 2008

Bloomberg Passed Up In P.I. Case

New York Billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg returned to court for a second day of jury duty Tuesday, but was dismissed after attorneys passed him up while choosing a panel to hear a personal injury case. Bloomberg started his day in a courtroom with about 35 other prospective jurors. He was allowed to leave by early afternoon. Bloomberg spent most of his first day with about 40 others in a courtroom […]

August 9, 2007

Supreme Court Upholds Importance of Peremptory Strikes

The Supreme Court of Florida properly reversed a jury verdict in a case where counsel was forced to use a peremptory strike during jury selection on a juror who should have been stricken for cause. The jury verdict was reversed even though it was undisputed on appeal that the jury that ultimately decided the case was a “constitutionally impartial” jury. The Supreme Court held it is prejudice “per se” to require counsel to use even […]

June 22, 2007

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