As of January 2021, Arizona became the first state in the United States to abolish peremptory strikes in its court system. Peremptory strikes are a legal practice that allows attorneys to reject potential jurors from serving on a trial without providing a reason for doing so. This practice has been criticized for allowing discrimination to occur in the selection of jurors, particularly against racial and ethnic minorities.
The decision to abolish peremptory strikes in Arizona is a significant step towards ensuring fair and impartial trials. Rather than relying on the subjective opinions of attorneys, the new system will prioritize random selection and impartiality in the jury selection process. The Arizona Supreme Court made this decision after a year-long review of the state’s court rules.
Peremptory strikes have a long history in the United States, dating back to the colonial era. They were originally intended to allow attorneys to remove potentially biased jurors from a trial, but over time, they have been criticized for being used to exclude people based on race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. Studies have shown that peremptory strikes have been used disproportionately against racial and ethnic minorities, leading to a lack of diversity in juries.
The new system in Arizona replaces peremptory strikes with a new process called “striking for cause.” Under this process, attorneys must provide a specific reason for why a potential juror should be removed from a trial. This ensures that jury selection is based on objective criteria rather than personal biases or prejudices.
The elimination of peremptory strikes in Arizona is a positive step towards ensuring a fair and impartial justice system. It also serves as an example for other states to follow. By prioritizing random selection and impartiality in the jury selection process, Arizona has taken a significant step towards achieving justice for all of its citizens, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or any other personal characteristic.
However, it is important to note that the elimination of peremptory strikes is not a silver bullet that will solve all issues related to discrimination in the justice system. Other factors, such as the makeup of the jury pool and the overall bias of the legal system, can also play a role in determining whether justice is served. Nevertheless, the decision by Arizona to abolish peremptory strikes is a significant step towards a more fair and just legal system.