Topic: Cause Challenges

New Trial Granted Because Judge Improperly Denied Cause Challenge

Last week, the Third District Court of Appeal granted a new trial in an auto crash case where the trial court improperly denied the Plaintiff’s cause challenge against a juror who expressed impartiality.  In Rivas v. Sandoval, ___ So. 3d ___ (2021), during jury selection the Plaintiff’s counsel questioned the venire about personal experiences with car crashes.  One juror stated both he and his son had been in a similar […]

May 11, 2021

Trial Judge Reversed Due to Arbitrary Time Limits on Jury Selection

A first-degree murder conviction was reversed last month due to the trial court imposing arbitrary time limits during jury selection. In Hopkins v. State, 2017 WL 2983284 (Fla. 4th DCA, July 12, 2017), the trial court advised counsel, for the first time at the beginning of trial, that each side would be limited to three hours for voir dire to question the venire of fifty jurors. This equated to approximately […]

August 17, 2017

“I don’t believe in the jury system”

During jury selection in a car accident case, a prospective juror told counsel she “didn’t believe in the jury system” because of an experience her brother had in a criminal case two years earlier. She said she thought she would have a hard time judging the case because of her personal experience and that she no longer had any faith in the jury system. She also indicated that because of […]

May 12, 2015

How to Save a Potentially Contaminated Jury Panel

During jury selection in a civil trial a prospective juror stated in open court that he was familiar with one of the defendant’s expert medical witnesses. The juror said the expert had “kind of screwed-up my dad’s back,” and that his dad had filed a lawsuit against the doctor. The defense lawyer then moved to strike the entire thirty-seven member jury panel because of the prospective juror’s negative comment. Thereafter, […]

January 30, 2013

“Hearing About” Murder Case Not Enough for Cause Challenge

Yesterday the Fourth District Court of Appeal upheld the trial court’s denial of a challenge for cause directed at a potential juror in a case involving murder-for-hire. In Samuels v. State, 11 So. 3d 413 (Fla 4th DCA, 2009), the Court reaffirmed the longstanding rule that if there is any reasonable doubt about a juror’s ability to render an impartial verdict the juror should be stricken for cause. As noted by the […]

May 14, 2009

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