Court Errs In Blocking Peremptory Strike

A single mistake in jury selection can result in an entire new trial. Nowhere is that truer than in the area of “Neil Challenges” and peremptory strikes. A mistake there is usually reversible error per se. In Garcia v. State , 75 So. 3d 871 (Fla 3rd DCA 2010), the Defense wanted to exercise a peremptory strike on a prospective juror. The trial judge would not allow it. The prospective juror […]

November 2, 2010

Memos Posted on Timing of Peremptory Strikes

Two memorandums of law were added to the Jury Blog today concerning the timing of peremptory strikes during jury selection. The law is clear that “the only fair [jury selection] scheme is to allow the parties to exercise their challenges … so that, before a party exercises a peremptory challenge, he has before him the full panel from which the challenge is to be made” — a panel that does […]

October 6, 2010

IPhone + Encarta = New Trial

A jury verdict was reversed earlier this month due to juror misconduct when the foreperson used his Iphone to look up the definition of “prudent” on Encarta during a break in the jury’s deliberations.  In Tapanes v. State, 42 So. 3d 159 (Fla 4 DCA 2010) the court wrote: “Although here we confront new frontiers in technology, that being the instant access to a dictionary by a smartphone, the conduct complained […]

September 20, 2010

Can A Potential Juror Be Asked To “Promise” A Verdict?

A common technique in voir dire, especially by defense attorneys, is to ask each prospective juror during jury selection whether the juror will “promise” to return a certain kind of verdict (e.g. guilty or not guilty) if it is supported by the evidence. Many trial judges for a variety of reasons will not permit that type of question to be answered. Last month, in the case of Benayer v. State, […]

August 19, 2010

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

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