Topic: Peremptory Challenges

“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

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

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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