Topic: Peremptory Challenges

Don’t Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Potential juror Sanders may have been sleeping during jury selection. Florida law is clear that “sleeping” during voir dire is a valid race-neutral reason for striking a juror  — not to wake him up,  but to remove him from the panel! See, Davis v. State, 560 So2d 1346 (Fla 3d DCA 1990). When the prosecutor used a peremptory strike against juror Sanders, the lawyer for the defendant, Eugene Harriell, raised […]

February 25, 2010

Maximizing The Power of Peremptory Strikes

The law concerning the use of peremptory challenges in jury selection has been changing in recent years. There is a vast difference between Florida law and Federal law in this area. While “Cause is Still King,” the effective use of peremptory challenges can make or break the outcome of a trial. As Justice Adkins wrote in the seminal case of Ter Keurst v. Miami Elevator Company, 486 So. 2d 547 […]

April 20, 2009

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

“Conflicting Views” Raise a Reasonable Doubt

Today the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed a criminal conviction because the trial judge failed to strike for cause a juror who “held conflicting views” on the presumption of innocence. Initially, during jury selection the juror stated “he’s guilty until proven innocent,” but later said “I think it was a misunderstanding earlier…,” and then went on to state “I can be fair and impartial.” The Court looked at the entirety of the juror’s […]

June 18, 2008

Ban on Using Nationality to Exclude Jurors is Upheld

This Wednesday’s New York Times reports that a federal district court judge has concluded that allowing American-born blacks on a Bronx jury but systematically excluding West Indian-born blacks from the jury is discriminatory. Federal Judge William H. Pauley III concluded that prospective black jurors cannot be excluded  from jury service because of their national origin even though other blacks served on the jury. In other words, it is improper to exclude prospective jurors from a jury […]

March 5, 2008

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