Arizona Peremptory Challenge Set to End
Arizona courts have dismissed potential jurors without sufficient reason. This practice has occurred for several centuries. Referred to as peremptory juror selection, the practice is set to end in the state of Arizona at the start of 2022. The end of the peremptory juror selection is the result of a recent Arizona Supreme Court decision. Let’s take a quick look at what peremptory challenges are all about and why such challenges to juror selection in Arizona will soon end.
The Basics of Peremptory Challenges
Prosecuting attorneys and defense attorneys can use peremptory challenges to excuse potential jurors who are qualified to serve in such a capacity. Such challenges are capped at a maximum of half a dozen in the context of superior court. The cap is set at two in jurisdiction courts. It must be noted a potential juror’s race or socioeconomic class cannot be used in the context of peremptory challenges.
The Pros and Cons of Peremptory Challenges
Proponents of ending peremptory juror selection make the case that such challenges open the door for discrimination against minority defendants as well as minorities who might serve as jurors. Those who opposed ending peremptory challenges to juror selection argue that ending this practice would make selecting truly fair and objective jurors that much more challenging.
The Issues of Bias
Jury pools contain individuals grouped into specific categories of bias. Those categories are implied or actual. A potential juror who cannot be objective and impartial to consuming drugs or alcohol or as a result of a moral objection or a religious belief, forms what is referred to by attorneys as an actual bias.
An Inside Look at Arizona’s Jury Selection Process
Arizona jurors are selected from a group of prospects after interviews are conducted. Referred to with the French term of voir dire, a reference to vocalizing the truth, these interviews set the stage for selecting truly objective and fair jurors. Voir dire is also helpful in the context of uprooting individuals who might be prejudiced against an individual charged with a crime. If a juror is biased as a result of an unrelated event or unwilling to make a decision that is independent and simply goes with the flow as determined by fellow jurors, he or she should be uprooted.
A possible juror who demonstrates a character trait or personal experience resulting from the above-referenced voir dire that makes impartiality unlikely or has a background or personal experience that results in a biased predisposition to favor either side, also has an implied bias. Such a bias sets the stage for the candidate’s disqualification from consideration for serving on the panel of jurors.
Arizona is a Trailblazer in the Context of Ending Peremptory Challenges
Arizona is the lone state to put an end to peremptory challenges. This ruling is applicable to criminal court cases as well as civil court cases. Though there was an organized and concerted effort to restrict such challenges, it was quashed by the high court’s order.
A task force will be responsible for determining potential alterations to the current set of rules until the order goes into effect on the first of the new year. Both sides of a court case will have the opportunity to request that the judge removes potential jurors for certain reasons.