Arizona Lawyers Will No Longer Be Able To Bar Jurors Without Cause

Published: Sunday, August 29, 2021 - 10:39pm
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Arizona is making a major shift to fight discrimination in court trials.

The state Supreme Court this week will announce a new rule eliminating the ability of attorneys to strike prospective jurors without cause. 

The recommendation to strike so-called peremptory challenges came from two judges in the state Court of Appeals, who argued that the move will help juries reflect the racial and ethnic backgrounds of their communities.

Starting Jan. 1, lawyers will need to state a specific reason to eliminate a potential juror, like an admitted bias or personal knowledge of the parties or the dispute.

The move drew criticism from several prosecutors, including Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel, who says it will lead to trials that are less fair for all sides.

Although Arizona is the first state to ban peremptory challenges, California and Washington have recently restricted prosecutors’ abilities to remove jurors for reasons like race or ethnicity.

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