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Peremptory Challenge Questions

Fair trial is the right of every individual or group be it the prosecution or defense and for this the jury needs to be impartial and unbiased. Often a situation might arise where the prosecution or defense might need to eliminate a jury or juror who might have an unfavorable bias on the outcome of the trial or judgment. This can be done using what is called peremptory challenge. Peremptory challenge is the right to challenge a juror without assigning a reason for the challenge. This right to jury is often used to ensure a fair trial. There are many legal questions that might arise regarding peremptory challenge like the ones answered by legal Experts.

In California, can someone file multiple Peremptory Challenges for a single claim?

In the state of California, there is no limit on the number of times that one can ask to recuse a judge. This can be done under California Code of Civil Procedure section 170.6 which relates to disqualification of the judge assigned to the case or peremptory challenge.

Is It Possible to Disqualify a Federal Judge using a peremptory challenge such as California's CCP 170.6?

There is no federal law or statute equivalent to the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 170.6. Thus a Federal district judge may be disqualified only for sufficient cause.

How long does it take for a new judge to take over the case once a judge has been disqualified under CCP section 170.6?

Once you have filed the peremptory challenge, the recused judge will have no jurisdiction over the case. In such a scenario the case will be assigned to a new judge in the courthouse. On most occasions it will be placed on that judge's calendar and can be taken up on the first available hearing date.

In California can a judge voluntarily dismiss himself from presiding over a case?

Yes, in most situations in the state of California, a judge recuses under the California Code of Civil Procedure Section 170.3 (a) (1) which states “If a judge determines himself or herself to be disqualified, the judge shall notify the presiding judge of the court of his or her recusal and shall not further participate in the proceeding, except as provided in Section 170.4, unless his or her disqualification is waived by the parties as provided in subdivision” However as per the law there shall be no waiver of disqualification if the judge has a personal bias concerning the party and in case the judge has served as an attorney in the matter in controversy or has been a material witness concerning that matter.

Can a peremptory challenge be filed after appearing in a judge’s court? What can one do if a judge refuses or fails to disqualify himself?

In most cases, a peremptory challenge can only be filed before one appears in a judge’s court and not after it. If a judge, who should disqualify himself or herself, refuses or fails to do so, one may file with the clerk a written verified statement objecting to the hearing or trial before the judge. However it is important that you state the facts constituting the grounds for disqualification of the judge. The statement shall be presented at the earliest practicable opportunity after discovery of the facts constituting the ground for disqualification. The copies of the statement need to be served on each party or his/her attorney who has appeared and shall be personally served on the judge alleged to be disqualified.

Is it possible to disqualify all jurors that happen to belong to the same race as the person being tried in court using peremptory challenge?

Yes, in some cases it is possible to use peremptory challenge to disqualify all the jurors that happen to be of the same race as the person being tried. However in practice, the defense counsel will make a motion to compel the prosecutor to reveal the reasons for each peremptory challenge. The judge will then decide if the reason for each of these challenges holds legal ground. If it is not proper, the judge can refuse the challenge. The purpose of peremptory challenge is to give all defendants their best chance of an impartial fair jury and enhance public respect of the jury system.

Peremptory challenge is common in the court system as law guarantees a fair trial to an individual or a group. However for people not acquainted with law or legal matters this might often be confusing to understand. An average person should talk to a legal expert to know when and why a peremptory challenge can be used in the court of law.
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