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AZ lawmakers move to partially restore jury challenges

Jury Box in a new court room
Jury Box in a new court room

Arizona lawmakers are advancing a proposal to partially undo the state Supreme Court’s groundbreaking elimination of the longstanding practice of allowing lawyers to remove potential trial jurors without explanation.

Legislators supporting a bill endorsed last week by a state House committee said restoration of so-called peremptory challenges in criminal cases would preserve a right intended to help ensure just and fair verdicts.

Proponents of elimination of the challenges say it would help prevent discrimination in jury selection. The rule change took effect Jan. 1, eliminating peremptory challenges in both civil and criminal cases.

Arizona was the first state to eliminate peremptory challenges, which are a hot-button legal issue nationally.