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Race-Neutral Reason for Peremptory Challenge

During the voi dire / jury selection process, a party is entitled to 3 peremptory challenges. This means a party can strike prospective jurors for any race-neutral reason. There are times where a party uses a peremptory challenge to strike a juror and the opponent believes the peremptory challenge is being used for a racially motivated reason (i.e., to strike a particular prospective juror due to that juror’s race or ethnicity). Even when the proponent of the peremptory challenge explains the race-neutral reason for the challenge, the opponent believes that the race-neutral reason is merely a pretext. The Second District Court...

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Voir Dire and Reasonable Opportunity to Examine Prospective Jurors

Voir dire, as mentioned in prior postings, is a very important part of the jury trial process. Voir dire is when the parties have an opportunity to examine and question prospective jurors in the context of their theme and case in order to determine which six jurors (and alternate) should be sworn in on the jury panel. The objective behind voir dire is to ensure that parties have a fair and impartial jury. Williams v. State, 424 So.2d 148 (Fla. 5th DCA 1982). The right of parties (and even the trial court) in civil dispute to engage...

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Appealing the Granting or Denying of a Party’s Peremptory Challenge(s)

  Previously, I discussed the basics regarding peremptory challenges. What if the court grants or denies a peremptory challenge and a party wants to appeal that ruling at the conclusion of the trial? A party will want to potentially appeal if (a) a party challenges its opponent's use of a peremptory challenge arguing that the opponent wants to strike a juror for a racially motivated basis and the court still grants / sustains the peremptory challenge or, alternatively, (b) a party challenges its opponent's use of a peremptory challenge arguing that the opponent wants to strike a juror for a racially motivated basis and...

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Civil Jury Trials and the Basics of Peremptory and Cause Juror Challenges

Civil jury trials in a Florida state court require 6 jurors. See Fla.Stat. s. 69.071. The court also generally directs for 1 or 2 alternate jurors to be selected. See Fla.R.Civ.P. 1.431(g). During jury selection in civil trials, or the voir dire process, parties have peremptory challenges and challenges for cause that are used to strike a prospective juror(s) from being sworn on the jury panel.   These challenges are a very important component of the jury trial process designed to not only prevent biased or partial jurors from being sworn to the jury panel (challenges for cause), but to allow a party to strike...

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