Published on: Monday, August 30, 2021

Arizona's top court is eliminating the longstanding practice of allowing lawyers in criminal and civil trials in state courts to remove potential jurors without explanation, a move that proponents said would help prevent discrimination in the selection of trial jurors (article available here).

So-called peremptory challenges will end January 1, 2021, under a groundbreaking rule change ordered Tuesday and released Friday by the Arizona Supreme Court. The move comes over the objections from several prosecutors who contend, as does Maricopa County Attorney Allistair Adel, it "will ultimately lead to trials that are less fair for all sides.'' 

And even the Arizona Black Bar, while taking no formal position, is concerned that complete abolition of peremptory challenges "could have unintended and undesirable consequences.'' 

Parties will still be able to ask judges to remove potential jurors for valid reasons such as stated bias or inability to serve.