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Judge Defends Peremptory Challenges

by TChris

A Poughkeepsie judge, George Marlow, reminded listeners during a Law Day speech that "the jury system is our best hope for justice most often and our best protection against tyranny." He also spoke out against proposals to limit both the questioning of potential jurors and the exercise peremptory challenges (the ability to strike prospective jurors who seem to a lawyer to be potentially unfair).

"What could ever be more critical to a fair trial than a nonpolitical, impartial, patient, fair and decent jury of free women and men?" Marlow said. "A jury may be picked by the smartest, most prepared lawyers on this planet. But if there are a few wolves in sheep's clothing seated in that box and the lawyers aren't given the leeway to ferret them out ... no amount of competent lawyering can ever prevent the oncoming train of injustice these wolves may be driving."

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    Re: Judge Defends Peremptory Challenges (none / 0) (#1)
    by theologicus on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:41 PM EST
    This food product needs a logo. Why not a reproduction of the famous painting by Edvard Munch on all pints of frozen custard?

    Re: Judge Defends Peremptory Challenges (none / 0) (#2)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:41 PM EST
    "the jury system is our best hope for justice most often and our best protection against tyranny." I agree; however, preemptory challenges work in direct opposition to this check. Folks are excluded out of hand for an objection to the law and its application. Challenges are a way of gaining advantage, not ensuring a representative sample from the community. Come on now; at best layers are looking for fair-minded folks, but more likely those sympathetic to the folks they are representing.

    Re: Judge Defends Peremptory Challenges (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:41 PM EST
    We talked about this in class...in Batson v. Kentucky the Supreme Court held that the use of preemptory challenges to achieve an all-white jury violates the Sixth and Fourteenth Amendment right to a fair jury trial

    Re: Judge Defends Peremptory Challenges (none / 0) (#4)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:41 PM EST
    Folks are excluded out of hand for an objection to the law and its application. I think you're referring to challenges for cause, of which each side has an unlimited number to use. Peremptory challenges--for jurors that just rub you the wrong way--are of a limited number. ...at best layers are looking for fair-minded folks, but more likely those sympathetic to the folks they are representing. Um, that's the whole idea of the adversary system. Both sides can remove jurors through challenges for cause and peremptory challenges.

    Re: Judge Defends Peremptory Challenges (none / 0) (#5)
    by Dadler on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:41 PM EST
    juries are only as competent as the society at large. which means it's a coin flip whether a juror, regardless of whether they are excluded or not, has the critical thinking capacity to fairly decide a case. note i said fairly, not impartially, since genuine impartiality in a "legal" sense is impossible with human beings, just as real objectivity is. that said, it's almost always better than trial by judge, and is really all we have. we need to continute to make it as good and fair and functioning and highly competent as we can.

    Re: Judge Defends Peremptory Challenges (none / 0) (#6)
    by pigwiggle on Sat Dec 17, 2005 at 12:58:41 PM EST
    I think you're referring to challenges for cause, of which each side has an unlimited number to use. Probably, Im not a layer so Um, that's the whole idea of the adversary system. Both sides can I suppose you could construct a system that afford opportunity for gaming and advantage play, or set up the machination of the court such that facts and argument are more critical than gamesmanship; both are adversarial. If the point was simple opposition we could have they lawyers arm wrestle.