Vrana Law Firm Goes to Trial under Arizona’s New Jury Selection Law
New year, new jury box…2022 started with a shake-up in the Arizona trial scene as the Arizona Supreme Court ruled to remove peremptory strikes from jury selection starting January 1. Peremptory strikes allow attorneys on both sides to remove jury candidates from consideration without stating a reason or cause. Prior to January 1, attorneys were allowed to request a strike of up to three potential jurors each. Vrana Law Firm is actively in trial this week as one of the first to implement jury selection under the new law.
The ruling has drawn both support and criticism. Supporters say it helps balance racial representation among juries in our state. The original petitioners argue that while peremptory strikes are in place to encourage attorneys to practice their own intuition, biases – even subconscious ones – come into play. While 1986 US Supreme Court case Batson v. Kentucky ruled that removing a juror solely based on race is unconstitutional, studies show racial disparities in the jury box remain a concern.
Other states have adjusted restrictions on peremptory strikes to encourage unbiased selection practices, but Arizona is the first state to remove these strikes altogether. Arizona attorneys retain the ability to request a prospective juror’s removal “for cause” if they can argue why that person might not remain impartial due to various life experiences or affiliations. We’re looking forward to being one of the first law firms starting proceedings under the new ruling to better understand how this could impact our clients moving forward.