NJ Supreme Court to hold judicial conference on jury selection

The New Jersey Supreme Court has announced two dates—Nov. 10 and 12—for a judicial conference focusing on jury selection. The conference was called at the behest of the Court in an opinion by Chief Justice Stuart Rabner in State v. Andujar, 247 N.J. 275 (2021), which held that a criminal defendant had been denied his right to a fair and impartial jury as a result of a prosecutor who performed a criminal background check on a potential juror. In Andujar, the Court signaled its concerns about implicit bias and its impact on peremptory challenges, calling for a judicial conference to study the issue. The New Jersey State Bar Association (NJSBA) has long held that implicit bias and diversity are a priority, and also that peremptory challenges are an important tool for defendants and should not be eliminated.