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Peremptory Challenges

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By George W. Liebmann | August 29, 2010
In a little more than two weeks, Baltimore City voters will participate in a seriously contested election for state's attorney. There are various suggestions for rendering the criminal justice system more efficient. "Smoking out" the candidates would be useful to city voters next month, as well as the General Assembly when it takes up the following issues: 1. Maryland provides both parties in criminal trials unusually large numbers of peremptory challenges of jurors. In death-penalty and life-imprisonment cases, the defense has 20 challenges, the prosecution 10. In cases involving 20 years or more, the defense gets 10 challenges, the prosecution five; in other cases, each side has four challenges.
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NEWS
By George W. Liebmann | August 29, 2010
In a little more than two weeks, Baltimore City voters will participate in a seriously contested election for state's attorney. There are various suggestions for rendering the criminal justice system more efficient. "Smoking out" the candidates would be useful to city voters next month, as well as the General Assembly when it takes up the following issues: 1. Maryland provides both parties in criminal trials unusually large numbers of peremptory challenges of jurors. In death-penalty and life-imprisonment cases, the defense has 20 challenges, the prosecution 10. In cases involving 20 years or more, the defense gets 10 challenges, the prosecution five; in other cases, each side has four challenges.
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NEWS
By New York Times | April 2, 1991
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court has broadened the right of criminal defendants to object to the use of race in jury selection.The 7-to-2 ruling significantly expanded on a 1986 Supreme Court decision that permitted defendants to object to the prosecution's use of peremptory challenges to exclude members of the defendant's race from a jury.The court yesterday declared in an opinion by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy that the use of racial criteria in the government's selection of a jury is unconstitutional regardless of the race of the defendant or of the excluded jurors.
NEWS
By Alice Lukens and Del Quentin Wilber and Alice Lukens and Del Quentin Wilber,Sun Staff | October 5, 1999
A group of top judges and lawyers and citizens recommended yesterday significant changes in Maryland's jury system to improve participation and make the experience less intimidating for jurors.About 20 members of the Council on Jury Use and Management met for about five hours in Annapolis and voted to recommend that:Employers should pay jurors for up to three days of a trial.Jurors should be able to ask questions during trials.The court system should be encouraged help jurors with child-care problems and give special consideration to those with health or transportation problems.
NEWS
By GEORGE F. WILL | April 24, 1994
Writing for the Supreme Court majority, announcing the conclusion that lawyers may no longer base peremptory challenges to potential jurors on the basis of sex, Justice Harry Blackmun says the conclusion is ''axiomatic.'' By that he means, judging from his opinion, that the conclusion is so self-evident as to need no constitutional argument. But so flimsy is his opinion, ,, and so foolish is the ruling, that both are demolished by, of all things, a concurring opinion.In an Alabama paternity trial a Tennessee salesman was found to be the father of a child and ordered to pay child support.
NEWS
May 3, 1994
On the same day the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution prohibits excluding women or men from juries because of their sex, the U.S. Senate was giving a demonstration that sometimes men and women see things quite differently. All seven women senators voted against letting Adm. Frank Kelso retire with four-star rank. Men senators were divided. In one sense this justifies those dissenters from the Supreme Court ruling, who argued that a person's sex has been demonstrated to be predictive in some jury trials and that therefore courtroom lawyers should be allowed to use the"peremptory challenge" -- one without cause -- to exclude as many men or as many women as possible.
NEWS
April 7, 1991
It has been exasperating to watch a so-called conservative Supreme Court ignore previous rulings in arriving at their recent decisions. The absence of Lewis Powell from the court played a major role in this development. He was a strong believer in adherence to precedent. Thus it came as a pleasant -- and appropriate -- surprise when Justice Anthony Kennedy, writing for a 7-2 majority, relied on an important opinion by Justice Powell. Justice Kennedy has what we still think of as "the Powell seat."
NEWS
June 18, 1991
A black man was injured on the job. He sued his employer for damages. The employer's lawyers used peremptory challenges, which do not have to be justified, to keep two blacks off the jury. This apparently was because they believed black jurors would not be impartial with a black plaintiff. The injured party, after getting a disappointing award, sued on the grounds that the Constitution requires courtroom activities to be "race-neutral." He pointed out that the Supreme Court had previously ruled that in criminal trials prosecutors could not use peremptory challenges for racial purposes.
NEWS
By Alice Lukens and Del Quentin Wilber and Alice Lukens and Del Quentin Wilber,Sun Staff | October 5, 1999
A group of top judges and lawyers and citizens recommended yesterday significant changes in Maryland's jury system to improve participation and make the experience less intimidating for jurors.About 20 members of the Council on Jury Use and Management met for about five hours in Annapolis and voted to recommend that:Employers should pay jurors for up to three days of a trial.Jurors should be able to ask questions during trials.The court system should be encouraged help jurors with child-care problems and give special consideration to those with health or transportation problems.
NEWS
By ZICK RUBIN | May 6, 1994
At long last, trial began in the lawsuit brought by Joan Lee, a tiny Asian-American woman, against Lee Jones, a towering white man. The lawyers were about to pick the jury.Joan leaned over to her lawyer and whispered, ''Let's get rid of those three guys in the back row. I don't think men can reallyidentify with what happened to me.''The lawyer shook his head and whispered back. ''Can't do that. The Supreme Court just decided that archaic gender stereotypes offend our system of justice.''''Well, then,'' Joan said, ''use one of our challenges on the blonde woman in the front row. I'd rather have more minorities on the jury.
NEWS
By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE | December 23, 1997
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- The jurors who are to determine whether Theodore J. Kaczynski was the Unabomber and, if he was, whether he should be put to death expressed conservative attitudes that seem to reflect those of the small towns and midsized cities of this region.Nine women and three men were selected as jurors yesterday, after more than a month of jury selection.Because all jurors in capital cases must be willing to impose a death sentence, there are no ardent opponents of the death penalty on the jury.
NEWS
By Los Angeles Times | December 6, 1994
LOS ANGELES -- The O. J. Simpson murder trial cleared one hurdle and ran into another yesterday: Nearly a month after picking a jury, the judge and lawyers completed individual questioning of alternate jurors, but they also were forced to postpone an important hearing on DNA evidence until early next year.Selection of alternate jurors for the case -- in which Mr. Simpson has pleaded not guilty to the June 12 slayings of his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald L. Goldman -- made slow but steady progress.
NEWS
By ZICK RUBIN | May 6, 1994
At long last, trial began in the lawsuit brought by Joan Lee, a tiny Asian-American woman, against Lee Jones, a towering white man. The lawyers were about to pick the jury.Joan leaned over to her lawyer and whispered, ''Let's get rid of those three guys in the back row. I don't think men can reallyidentify with what happened to me.''The lawyer shook his head and whispered back. ''Can't do that. The Supreme Court just decided that archaic gender stereotypes offend our system of justice.''''Well, then,'' Joan said, ''use one of our challenges on the blonde woman in the front row. I'd rather have more minorities on the jury.
NEWS
May 3, 1994
On the same day the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution prohibits excluding women or men from juries because of their sex, the U.S. Senate was giving a demonstration that sometimes men and women see things quite differently. All seven women senators voted against letting Adm. Frank Kelso retire with four-star rank. Men senators were divided. In one sense this justifies those dissenters from the Supreme Court ruling, who argued that a person's sex has been demonstrated to be predictive in some jury trials and that therefore courtroom lawyers should be allowed to use the"peremptory challenge" -- one without cause -- to exclude as many men or as many women as possible.
NEWS
By GEORGE F. WILL | April 24, 1994
Writing for the Supreme Court majority, announcing the conclusion that lawyers may no longer base peremptory challenges to potential jurors on the basis of sex, Justice Harry Blackmun says the conclusion is ''axiomatic.'' By that he means, judging from his opinion, that the conclusion is so self-evident as to need no constitutional argument. But so flimsy is his opinion, ,, and so foolish is the ruling, that both are demolished by, of all things, a concurring opinion.In an Alabama paternity trial a Tennessee salesman was found to be the father of a child and ordered to pay child support.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,Washington Bureau of The Sun | April 20, 1994
WASHINGTON -- In a sweeping new declaration of sex equality that was mainly a gain for women's rights, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 yesterday that it is unconstitutional for prosecutors to use individuals' sex as the reason for denying them a seat on a jury.The ruling, the first by the court in a dozen years on women's rights under the Constitution, said that selecting jurors on the basis of their sex is a form of discrimination that "serves to ratify and perpetuate . . . archaic and overbroad stereotypes about the relative abilities of men and women."
NEWS
May 10, 1993
Two men convicted in Prince George's County for murder in the shooting death of James Stanley Bias two years ago will now have to be retried because the prosecutor bumped some women off the jury because they were women. So ordered the Court of Appeals last month.The immediate result of this decision is that the murderers will probably be out on bond soon and that a few hundred thousand dollars of taxpayers' money will be spent on a new trial. The longer range result may be that an element of Anglo-American jurisprudence of hundreds of years duration may disappear in Maryland.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,Washington Bureau of The Sun | June 4, 1991
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court, tightening even further its constitutional limits on lawyers who try to shape the racial makeup of juries, ruled 6-3 yesterday that those limits apply to attorneys on both sides in a civil trial.The court moved beyond criminal trials for the first time to deal with lawyers' use of automatic dismissal of potential jurors of one race. It declared broadly:"Racial discrimination has no place in the courtroom, whether the proceeding is civil or criminal. . . . If race stereotypes are the price for acceptance of a jury panel as fair, the price is too high to meet the standards of the Constitution."
NEWS
May 10, 1993
Two men convicted in Prince George's County for murder in the shooting death of James Stanley Bias two years ago will now have to be retried because the prosecutor bumped some women off the jury because they were women. So ordered the Court of Appeals last month.The immediate result of this decision is that the murderers will probably be out on bond soon and that a few hundred thousand dollars of taxpayers' money will be spent on a new trial. The longer range result may be that an element of Anglo-American jurisprudence of hundreds of years duration may disappear in Maryland.
NEWS
By Lyle Denniston and Lyle Denniston,Washington BureauWashington Bureau | June 19, 1992
WASHINGTON -- Moving dramatically to try to take race out of U.S. criminal trials, the Supreme Court yesterday barred defense lawyers from picking jurors on the basis of their race -- even if that would get a more favorable jury for the accused.The 7-2 ruling is likely to mean that more whites accused of crimes against blacks will have to take their chances with more blacks on the jury and that more blacks accused of crimes against whites will be tried by all-white juries.The justices, in another major ruling, upheld 8-1 a key part of California's unique 1978 "tax revolt" law, which holds down property taxes on homes long owned by the same family or individual, but allows taxes to rise sharply when a new owner buys a home.
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