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A juror who cannot provide unequivocal assurance or whose credibility about the assurance is in doubt would properly be excused

for cause. A prospective juror who cannot unequivocally declare lack of bias must be excused. A venireperson is not impartial if he/she has characteristics that will likely make it difficult for him/her to judge the particular case fairly and without bias. A venireperson who is not impartial may be excused by the judge on the judges own initiative. If the judge does not do so, either party may challenge the venireperson for cause. The judge rules on this challenge. If the judge grants the challenge, the venireperson is dismissed from the voir dire panel. If the judge denies the challenge, the venireperson remains on the panel. There are many bases that will support a for-cause challenge, but most involve one of three general principles, that is, that the venireperson: (1) (2) Knows one of the parties, the lawyers, the judge, or the witnesses. Expresses an opinion in the jury questionnaire or during voir dire that indicates the venireperson cannot set aside some preconceived notion that will interfere with his/her ability to fairly judge the case. For example, in a death penalty jurisdiction a venireperson in a death penalty case who states that he/she would always impose a death sentence for murder would be challengeable for cause because not all murders should be punished by death under the law. Equally, a venireperson who was so opposed to the death penalty that he/she would never vote to impose it would likewise be challengeable for cause because the law says the death penalty is an appropriate punishment in some cases. Has life experiences from which bias can be inferred. For example, a member of the Ku Klux Klan would be challengeable for cause in a case where a black defendant is seeking redress under the Civil Rights Act


An opposing party does not usually contest a for-cause challenge based on the venirepersons knowledge of someone connected with the case. But an opposing party often does contest the granting of for-cause challenges based on the venirepersons opinions or life experiences. The opposing party will try to rehabilitate the venireperson through questioning designed to demonstrate that the venireperson can fairly judge the case, despite the opinion or life experience. The point of contesting a forcause challenge is not necessarily a belief that the venireperson will end up as a juror on the case; rather, if the judge denies the for-cause challenge, the party who lodged it will probably be forced to use one of their limited number of peremptory challenges on that venireperson.

Peremptory challenges