”Struck Jury” Method In California

In People v. Wright (1990) 52 Cal.3d 367, the defendant asserted that counsel was ineffective in failing to object to his confession on the grounds that it was unsupported by sufficient evidence of corpus delicti. In rejecting this contention, the court wrote, "Since the record provides no clue as to why counsel failed to object, we would normally affirm on appeal and require defendant to proceed via habeas corpus.

Although this rule does not apply if 'there simply could be no satisfactory explanation' for the omission citation, it may well be that counsel was aware of additional evidence of attempted robbery aside from defendant's own statements, and did not wish to invite its presentation. on this record, then, we cannot conclude defense counsel was ineffective for failing to object." ( Id. at pp. 404-405.) the trial court adopted a variation of the "struck jury" method of selecting the jury, which meant the defendant had to exercise his peremptory challenges against a group of 21 potential jurors, rather then 12. on appeal, the defendant argued this method hampered the strategic use of his challenges because it prevented him from evaluating the suitability of any one juror in light of who the other 11 jurors were likely to be.

The court acknowledged this possibility but concluded it did not require reversal of the defendant's conviction.

"It is clear that knowledge of the composition of the entire panel can be relevant to the informed exercise of a peremptory challenge against a particular juror. However, the fact that the procedure utilized here may have stood to make the exercise of the initial peremptory challenges less informed, does not in itself require reversal.

This is not a case where the defendant was prohibited from exercising all of his allotted peremptory challenges, which error would require reversal.

Although the jury selection procedure utilized here may have carried the potential for prejudice, we are not persuaded that such potential was realized here.

"We caution that adherence to the Legislature's statutorily prescribed jury selection procedures remains the proper and authorized way to ensure selection of a fair and impartial jury. Although the jury selection method utilized here departed from the statutory procedures then in effect, it did not unduly prevent defendant from exercising any of his allotted challenges, or otherwise fundamentally flaw the selection or final composition of defendant's petit jury. Under such circumstances, it is settled that relief will not be granted on appeal absent a showing of prejudice. Although requiring defendant to exercise his peremptory challenges against a panel of more than 12 prospective jurors at any given time technically ran afoul of the statutorily prescribed jury selection procedure, prejudice warranting reversal has not been demonstrated." (52 Cal.3d at pp. 397-398.)