People v. Arnold

96 N.Y.2d 358 (2001)

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People v. Arnold

New York Court of Appeals
96 N.Y.2d 358 (2001)

  • Written by Haley Gintis, JD

Facts

Marlon Arnold (defendant) was charged with assault by the State of New York (plaintiff) after stabbing his girlfriend. Arnold claimed that he had acted in self-defense. In preparation for the trial, Arnold’s defense counsel interviewed prospective jurors during the voir dire process. The defense counsel asked the prospective jurors to consider whether their personal background or personal feelings would affect their ability to serve as a juror. In response, a prospective juror stated that she had minored in women’s studies and may have difficulty fulfilling a juror’s role. The defense counsel asked her whether she would feel more comfortable serving as a juror in a different case, to which she responded, “I think so.” The defense counsel then moved to excuse the prospective juror for cause. The defense counsel argued that she was unable to unequivocally state that she could be a fair juror and may improperly serve as an unsworn witness in the jury room. The state objected on the ground that the potential juror had never stated that she would not be able to be impartial. The trial court denied the motion. The defense counsel then used a peremptory challenge to excuse the potential juror. By the end of the voir dire process, the defense counsel had used all available peremptory challenges. Arnold was convicted and appealed. The appellate division reversed the conviction on the ground that the trial court had erred in not granting the motion to excuse the potential juror for cause. The matter was appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kaye, C.J.)

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