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Peremptory Challenges in Juror Selection to End in Arizona

by Aaron M. Black • September 13, 2021

The centuries old practice of dismissing potential jurors without providing a reason, called peremptory, will end in Arizona at the beginning of 2022, ruled the Arizona Supreme Court.

Proponents argued that peremptory challenges discriminated against minority defendants and minority potential jurors.

Opponents reasoned that eliminating peremptory challenges would make choosing impartial jurors more difficult.

Arizona is the first state to eliminate peremptory challenges and the ruling applies to both criminal and civil court cases. The high court’s order eliminating peremptory challenges overtook an effort to place restrictions on these challenges.

Until the high court’s order becomes effective on January 1, a task force will be charged to recommend possible changes to the current rules allowing each side to ask a judge to remove a potential juror for valid reasons.

Here is an explanation of how the jury selection process works in AZ.

Peremptory Challenges in Juror Selection in Arizona

Selecting jurors

Jurors are selected from a pool of prospects during interviews called voir dire, meaning to speak the truth. In court, they are interviewed by the prosecution and defense lawyers with the goal of choosing those who can be fair and impartial.

Voir dire is also used to weed out those who may have a prejudice toward the defendant. They may hold a bias from some unrelated event, or perhaps they are just unwilling to make an independent decision and will just go along with other jurors opinions.

Peremptory challenge

Defense and prosecuting attorneys could use a peremptory challenge to excuse a prospective juror who is qualified to serve. Peremptory challenges are limited to, six in superior court and two in limited jurisdiction courts. A peremptory challenge, however, cannot be used for a person’s class or race.

Actual and implied bias

The jury pool may have people who fall into one of two bias categories, actual or implied.

A prospective juror who is not able to be impartial to using alcohol or drugs, because of religious beliefs or a moral objection, forms an actual bias.

A potential juror who exhibits a personal experience or character trait stemming from the voir dire that makes it uncertain that he or she could be impartial, or the person’s experience or background that is likely to have a predisposition to favor either the defendant or the prosecutor, is an implied bias.

Defending people in trouble

If you are in the investigative stage or have been arrested for a crime, it is crucial to obtain legal representation promptly. Begin your defense by calling 480-729-1683 at any time on any day, weekends or holidays and I will respond promptly unless I am in court or at trial. Or use my convenient online contact form.

I provide legal defense services in justice, municipal, state and federal courts in and near Maricopa County.

 

About the Author

Aaron Black is the founder and sole attorney of the Law Office of Aaron Black. Located in Phoenix, Arizona, his DUI and criminal defense law firm provides legal services to people who have received felony or misdemeanor charges from the state.

Aaron has developed a strong interest in defending people who have been arrested and received criminal charges for driving under the influence. With his professionalism and knowledge of Arizona DUI and criminal law, he has acted as a check and balance on the police, prosecution and courts and has protected a great number of his clients from excessive and unfair sentencing.

Along with DUI defense, Aaron handles a range of other criminal matters, including aggravated assault, burglary, domestic violence, drug possession, drug trafficking, fraud defense, insurance fraud, sex crimes and white-collar crime.

After graduating college in 2003 from the University of Arizona, Aaron decided to pursue a law degree. He followed a family long tradition and went to the University of South Dakota School of Law where he pursued his goal of becoming a criminal defense lawyer.

After passing the Arizona and South Dakota bar exams, Aaron joined the Maricopa County Office of the Public Defender where he defended hundreds of people charged with serious criminal offenses. His work as a public defender helped him sharpen his litigation skills and gave him a unique insight into the Arizona criminal justice system.

Over the course of his 15-year legal career, Aaron has spent a considerable amount of time in both Arizona justice, municipal, state and federal courts. He has argued over 50 jury trials, tried over 100 bench trials and has become one of the highest-rated criminal and DUI defense attorneys in Phoenix and the surrounding areas. He has received a 10/10 rating from the legal directory Avvo because of his legal background and successful case record. Since 2014, he has received the Super Lawyer rating for his work as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.

You can review Aaron’s Attorney Bio page for more information about his background, education and experience as a Phoenix DUI and criminal defense attorney.

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In light of the Coronavirus pandemic, I wanted to inform clients and potential clients I am still available for consultations. I am always available by phone, text and/or email. We can also use Facetime for social distancing. The criminal justice system is not stopping due to COVID-19.
 

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