Number of Juror Challenges May be Changed

Number of Juror Challenges May be Changed .

California Senate Bill (SB) 213 would reduce the number or peremptory challenges in a misdemeanor trial from 10 down to 6. The theory is that this will “speed up justice”.

During jury selection, many people have prejudices they will not admit out loud. An attorney can use “peremptory challenges” to excuse jurors even if they say that he or she can be fair and impartial. This bill slices the number of challenges by 40%.

At one point, misdemeanors were considered simply “minor crimes”. However, misdemeanor convictions can wreak havoc in a criminal defendant’s life. For example, a misdemeanor theft conviction may not mean much time in jail, but could cause the loss of a license necessary to support oneself.  For example, nurse, pharmacist, attorney, or day care provider licenses may be lost in a subsequent administrative hearing.

The crime of “child annoyance” is a misdemeanor sex offense requiring registration as a sex offender, probation that requires 18 months of counseling, including giving up the right to psychotherapist/patient privilege as well as 5th Amendment rights when asked to take a lie detector test by the sex offender counselor in connection with Penal Code 1203.067.

A DUI on the record can lead to loss of a job for a bus, truck, or taxi driver.

Virtually all companies check the background of prospective employees now that online databases make it so easy to find a criminal record.

Slashing the number of peremptory challenges almost in half may very well allow jurors who could not be weeded out for cause to remain on the jury, thereby reducing further the ability to obtain a fair trial

If you or someone you know is accused of a crime, arrested, or contacted by police, contact San Jose criminal defense attorney Maureen Baldwin at (408) 279-4450 to learn your options today!