Topic: Peremptory Challenges

Improper Melbourne Analysis Requires Reversal of Criminal Conviction

Earlier this summer, the Third District Court of Appeal reversed a criminal conviction due to a trial court’s improper Melbourne analysis.  In Brannon v. State, Defendant, Earl Brannon, was convicted of two counts of criminal trespass and one count of resisting arrest without violence.  During jury selection, the jurors were questioned regarding their prior interactions with law enforcement, as there was expected to be testimony from police officers during trial. […]

August 23, 2021

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

“Not Particularly Engaged” Juror Should Have Been Stricken

A trial court’s decision was reversed early in June for failing to strike a juror based on her nonverbal behavior.  The Fifth District Court of Appeal held that a juror being “not particularly engaged” during jury selection was a legally sufficient race-neutral reason to strike the juror.  Travelers Home and Marine Ins. Co., v. Gallo, 2018 WL 2448799 (Fla. 5th DCA, June 1, 2018). At trial, after concluding voir dire, […]

July 3, 2018

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

Is it Possible to “Unstrike” a Potential Juror?

After he finished his voir dire questions, a lawyer used his last peremptory strike on one of the remaining jurors. The jury panel was then accepted by his opponent. Before the jury was sworn, the lawyer asked the judge to “unstrike” the last juror he had stricken, asserting he could “backstrike” into the panel at anytime. The judge denied the request, correctly observing that a lawyer can backstrike only if […]

October 19, 2016

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