State v. Erickson

In State v. Erickson, 227 Wis. 2d 758, 596 N.W.2d 749 (1999), cert. denied, 145 L. Ed. 2d 936, 120 S. Ct. 987 (Jan. 24, 2000), a case involving sexual assault of a child, the challenged prospective juror had been a victim of sexual assault many years earlier when she was a child. See 227 Wis. 2d at 762. When asked during voir dire whether that experience would make it difficult for her to be fair and impartial, the juror responded: "I'm not sure. It's really hard to tell." See 227 Wis. 2d at 763 n.3. When later asked if she could uphold her oath to be fair and impartial and follow the instructions of law, the juror responded: "I think so." See 227 Wis. 2d at 763 n.4. The Court ultimately upheld the circuit court's determination that the juror was not subjectively biased. See 227 Wis. 2d at 776-77. The Court explained: "The waiver rule exists to cultivate timely objections. Such objections promote both efficiency and fairness. By objecting, both parties and courts have notice of the disputed issues as well as a fair opportunity to prepare and address them in a way that most efficiently uses judicial resources. If the waiver rule did not exist, a party could decline to object for strategic reasons and raise the error only when that party needed an advantage at some point in the trial. Similarly, judicial resources, not to mention the resources of the parties, are not best used to correct errors on appeal that could have been addressed during the trial." (Id. at 766.)