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Watch a case live Florida Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Med Mal Damage Caps – McCall v. USA

September 2, 2012

FYI Courtesy of Ratzan Law Group Champions for Truth – of Michelle Evette McCall v. United States of America
Feb. 9, 2012

Florida Jury Selection 101 Sharing the Process: Preserving Error on Challenges for Cause

Posted by Stuart N. Ratzan on Friday, May 18, 2012 To properly preserve error during jury selection, a lot more has to happen other than the trial court making the wrong ruling. Florida law has developed a precise process for preserving error. You MUST follow each step or else the error is not preserved and you will not get the replay you are hoping for.

Here are the steps:

First, after a cause challenge is improperly denied, you must use a peremptory challenge on the juror who is the subject of the motion to strike. Second, you must exhaust your remaining peremptory challenges. Third, after exhausting your remaining challenges, you must ask the trial court for an additional peremptory (because you were forced to use a peremptory on a cause challenge that was improperly denied). Fourth, you must specifically identify the prospective juror on whom you would use the additional

peremptory if it is given to you. Fifth, the court must deny your request for an additional peremptory. And finally, you must object to the jury before it is sworn, even if the trial court fails to ask you if you accept the jury. [Don’t overlook this last step. It may seem counterintuitive to object again after all the objecting and arguing you have done to that point, but the appellate courts require one last objection to the jury, so be sure to repeat yourself that one last time. See, e.g., Millstein v. Mutual Security Life Ins. Co., 705 So.2d 639 (Fla. 3d DCA 1998).]

Not as simple as the trial court making one incorrect ruling! If you plan to try cases to juries in Florida, you must commit the above steps to memory, and add the relevant case law to your trial notebook. The leading cases in Florida on this topic are Trotter v. State, 576 So. 2d 691 (Fla. 1990) and Joiner v. State, 618 So.2d 174 (Fla. 1993). Also, for cases specifically applying Trotter and Joiner in the civil context, see Couch v. Dunn Avenue Shell, Inc., 803 So.2d 803 (Fla. 1st DCA 2001) and Millstein v. Mutual Security Life Ins. Co., 705 So.2d 639 (Fla. 3d DCA 1998). Good luck in your next trial!

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