The panel ruled that the denial of the challenge for cause
was reversible error because it led to the defendant using his last peremptory challenge to excuse the juror.
Bias against "the law applicable to the case" is grounds for a challenge for cause
, and while you and I know that jury nullification falls within the bounds of the law, the system in practice does not recognize that principle.
challenge for cause
, which only "permit[s] rejection of jurors on a
(91) Defense counsel challenged the member for cause under chapter XI, paragraph 62f(1) of the 1951 MCM which stated "the challenged law officer or member is not eligible to serve as law officer or member, respectively, on courtsmartial." (92) Defense counsel's challenge for cause
Our challenge for cause
procedures must change too."
If a trial court commits error by denying a challenge for cause
, that error is prejudicial to the litigant, meriting reversal and a new trial, only if the challenging party was required to exhaust all remaining peremptory challenges and can show that an objectionable juror served on the jury.
The Court of Appeals, however, adopted a liberal standard for preservation and review of erroneous rulings on challenges for cause.(134) Specifically, the court determined that the erroneous denial of a challenge for cause
constituted reversible error if the defendant exhausted his peremptory challenges; the defendant did not bear the burden of proving that he was actually denied a fair trial.(135) As early as 1884, in People v.
For example, in a case involving charges of drunk driving, a letter of reprimand for drunk driving previously issued to a panel member would be admissible to establish a potential challenge for cause
The trial judge denied Cortez's challenge for cause
, and his lawyer had to use the last of his seven peremptory challenges to strike the juror.
The court held that the decision to grant or deny a challenge for cause
for a juror in a close relationship with either of the parties in the case is a question of law and a subject to ordinary review.
For example, when a juror has a general negative feeling about personal injury lawsuits, and further states that he can set aside his feelings, a challenge for cause
will usually be denied.
And I do believe that there ought to be more liberalization of the court's ability and desire to challenge for cause
, so that we wouldn't need peremptory challenges.