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.
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.
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.
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.