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Fewer peremptories in Jersey? Not if the bar can help it

Last May 16 a special committee of the New Jersey Supreme Court submitted a report (PDF) exploring at length the process of peremptory challenges and jury voir dire in the state, and calling for reform -- in particular, recommending a reduction in the number of peremptories allowed to four per side in civil two-party trials (and somewhat higher numbers to be available in criminal and multi-party civil trials).

Modest limits of this sort on lawyers' use of peremptories are a step seen as long overdue by many critics of the trial process. Those critics, however, would appear to have little sway within the ranks of organized trial counsel in the Garden State. "Rarely have litigators in New Jersey been so united" as in opposing the proposal, the National Law Journal reported Nov. 21 (not online). "[By] the time the comment period closed on Nov. 1, every major litigators' group other than prosecutors had weighed in against it, including the New Jersey State Bar Association and the Association of Trial Lawyer of America-New Jersey."



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.