State v. Hickman

In State v. Hickman, 205 Ariz. 192, 68 P.3d 418 (2003) the Court concluded by stating the defendant had not exhausted his peremptory challenges and, therefore, "an objectionable juror was not forced upon him." 205 Ariz. 192, P 41, 68 P.3d at 427. Although it did not define "objectionable juror," a majority of the jurisdictions it cited as having rejected the automatic-reversal rule require a showing that the remaining juror was biased or incompetent and subject to a challenge for cause. Id. P 8. The jury that decided Hickman's case was fair and impartial and therefore he did not show prejudice. Id. P 41. The Arizona Supreme Court overturned the automatic-reversal rule in State v. Huerta, 175 Ariz. 262, 855 P.2d 776 (1993), and held a defendant's curative use of a peremptory strike to remove a prospective juror who should have been stricken for cause is subject to harmless error review. Hickman, 205 Ariz. 192, PP 20-21, P39, 68 P.3d at 422, 427. The supreme court held that an error in a ruling on a peremptory strike was not structural error. 205 Ariz. at 198-200, PP 28-36, 68 P.3d at 424-26. In doing so, the supreme court expressly overruled its earlier decision in State v. Huerta, 175 Ariz. 262, 855 P.2d 776 (1993), holding that such error was structural. Id. at 201, P 39, 68 P.3d at 427. However, this tension may be resolved by the holding in Hickman that "a defendant's use of a peremptory challenge to cure a trial court's erroneous denial of a challenge for cause is an error in the trial process, and not an error affecting the framework of how a trial proceeds." Id. at 199 n.7, P 29, 68 P.3d at 425 n.7.