Peremptory Challenge

What does Peremptory Challenge mean?

A peremptory challenge is one of a limited number of jury challenges which allows the attorneys for each person to exclude a juror without reason or cause. Peremptory challenges are limited and can be done without explanation, although according to the U.S. Supreme Court the challenges cannot be made to discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, sex or race. Some criminal experts contend the peremptory challenge is discriminatory. Some countries, such as England, have made the same conclusion and eliminated the practice in the 1980s. Peremptory challenges, unlike challenges for cause, are made in open court in front of the jury.

The goal for both the defense and prosecution throughout the juror selection process is to seat a jury who they believe will be sympathetic to their client. The goal of the voir dire process within the criminal judicial system is to find a group of jurors who can hear the evidence for a criminal case and rule impartially.

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