Zimmerman trial and the strategic use of peremptory challenges UPDATED

Frederick Leatherman Law Blog

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Good morning:

I write today to explain another jury selection rule that is important for a lawyer to consider when deciding whether to exercise a peremptory challenge.

The order in which the PJs (prospective jurors) were called determines the order in which the PJ’s fill in as PJs are excused for cause and peremptory challenge.

For example, let us suppose that we have 10 PJs numbered 1-10.

Let us also suppose that PJs 1, 5, 6, and 9 are excused either for cause or by peremptory challenge.

The new order is 2, 3, 4, 7, 8 and 10.

If we have a jury of 4 with 1 alternate, the jury will be composed of former PJs 2, 3, 4 and 7. They will now be known as jurors 1, 2, 3 and 4.

Former PJ 8 will become the alternate and PJ 10 will be excused.

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