Peremptory Challenge Limited Number

Complete elimination of the peremptory challenge is a drastic remedy. Instead of complete elimination, the legislature might consider at least a drastic curtailment of the number of peremptory challenges. Section 494.480 allows nine peremptory challenges per side in death penalty cases. These strikes occur after the challenges for cause remove any prospective jurors who would not impose capital punishment. So, in each case there is a panel of citizens who have indicated that they will be able to impose the death penalty if the facts justify it. Then, from that "death penalty qualified" group, the state is permitted to strike nine of the prospective jurors for no reason. This may eliminate just about everyone who might even look like they could give a capital defendant the benefit of a reasonable doubt. Does the state really need to strike nine of its citizens in order for the state to receive a fair trial, even after a jury panel is "death penalty qualified?" A system that allows many peremptory challenges is open to manipulation by the defense as well. the popular press has many examples. See Dominick Dunne, Justice: Crimes, Trials and Punishments (2001).