EDITOR: State Sen. Noreen Evans has sponsored a bill to deny due process to criminal defendants. SB 794 would limit peremptory challenges in criminal cases to five. I watched this in action several years ago when I served on a jury.

Before the trial, defense attorneys used up all their peremptory challenges by excusing jurors who had connections to law enforcement. Unfortunately, they didn't have enough peremptory challenges. When the jury consulted on the verdict, we discovered that two jurors were related to law enforcement personnel. They voted immediately for conviction and resented that the rest of us debated the case for two days. Those two jurors wanted to get home to watch their soap operas, and the defendant be damned.

Evans' bill should extend the number of peremptory challenges, not limit it, and anyone related to law enforcement should automatically be excluded from a jury. They automatically vote to convict, and that's not fair to defendants.



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