Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Oh!

In People v Rivera, 2007 NY Slip Op 06583,the Court of Appeals had an opportunity to provide courts and practitioners guidance as to the circumstances when a prospective juror's use of the words “try” and “believe,” in response to being questioned about whether he could be fair, is so equivocal that a for cause challenge must be granted. Perhaps the best measure of how difficult it has been for lower courts to apply the Court of Appeals prior holdings on this issue are the three lengthy opinions authored by the First Department panel that heard this case (People v Rivera, 33 AD3d 303 [1st Dept 2006] [here].

So what did the Court hold?

The trial court did not err as a matter of law in denying defendant's for-cause challenge to prospective juror R.P. (see People v Arnold, 96 NY2d 358,362-363 [2001]; People v Johnson, 94 NY2d 600, 610-614 [2000] [available [here]).


People v Rivera, 200 NY Slip Op 06583 [here].

Just so it is clear, that was the Court's entire discussion of this issue. Hope that clears things up. (But didn't the Court hold in Arnold that similar language was too equivocal?)

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