Trial Court’s Error in Denying For-Cause Challenge to a Prospective Juror Required Reversal & New Trial
During jury selection in this Queens case, a prospective juror who worked in the Queens County District Attorney’s Office acknowledged she was familiar with the prosecutor, defense counsel, and the Justice overseeing the trial. Defense counsel’s request to remove the prospective juror for cause was denied. As the prospective juror had a contemporaneous working relationship with the same office that was prosecuting Mr. Cortes, the cause challenge should have been granted. Because the defense challenged the prospective juror for cause and subsequently exhausted all peremptory challenges, the conviction was reversed and a new trial ordered.
Alice R. B. Cullina represented Mr. Cortes