Court Should Have Excused Three Jurors Who Could Not Be Fair
During jury selection for Mr. Reyes’s trial, his attorney argued that three jurors should be excused for “cause” because they had indicated they could not be fair and impartial. One of these jurors explained that her son was a police officer and she was “not sure” whether she could be fair. The other two jurors had been victims of crimes and were consequently unsure if they could be impartial, saying only that they would “try.” Despite counsel’s objections, the trial court refused to excuse any of these jurors. Counsel was able to use peremptory challenges to remove two of these jurors, but he then exhausted all of his challenges and the third juror was selected for Mr. Reyes’s jury.
Mr. Reyes was subsequently convicted of first-degree assault and related crimes.
The Appellate Division reversed Mr. Reyes’s conviction holding that the trial court should have dismissed all three of the jurors.
William A. Loeb briefed the case, which was argued by Allegra Glashausser.