State v. Roberts

In State v. Roberts, 142 Wn.2d 471, 517-18, 14 P.3d 713 (2000) Roberts assigned error to the trial court's denial of his for-cause challenges against 13 jurors. Roberts, 142 Wn.2d at 517. Four of the jurors were seated in the jury box, but Roberts used his peremptory challenges to remove them, thereby exhausting his peremptory challenges. Id. At the close of jury selection, the trial court offered Roberts two free peremptory challenges because of a surplus of jurors. Id. at 487. Roberts declined. Id. Under the Parnell rule, Roberts alleged a situation in which he was prejudiced. Even if he had accepted the two extra peremptory challenges, the erroneous denial of four of his for-cause challenges would have forced Roberts to lose two peremptory challenges to which he was entitled. Under Parnell, Roberts would have demonstrated that his case was prejudiced by the court's actions. The Court did not determine whether any of the four contested jurors should have been excused for cause. Instead, it disposed of the issue by discussing the legal sufficiency of Roberts' case. Citing Martinez-Salazar and Latham, this court said that "an erroneous denial of a challenge for cause may be cured when the challenged juror is removed by peremptory challenge." Id. at 517. Since Roberts removed the four jurors through his peremptory challenges, none of them sat on the jury. "'So long as the jury that sits is impartial, the fact that the defendant had to use a peremptory challenge to achieve that result does not mean the Sixth Amendment was violated.'" Id. at 518. The Court concluded by holding that "because Roberts has not demonstrated that jurors who should have been removed for cause actually sat on the panel, his rights were not violated." Id. at 518.