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Florida Supreme Court – Criminal Headnotes – May 25, 2017

MOSES MCCRAY V. STATE OF FLORIDA – NO ABUSE OF DISCRETION IN DENYING DEFENSE REQUEST TO WITHDRAW PEREMPTORY STRIKE AFTER STATE HAD ACCEPTED JURY PANEL –CONFLICT WITH 3RD DISTRICT RESOLVED BY DISAPPROVING “BLANKET RULE”

Certified by 4th District Appeals Court for conflict with McIntosh v. State, 743 So.2d 155 (Fla. 3d DCA 1999). Trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying defense request to withdraw peremptory strike after state had accepted jury panel, in order to strike another prospective juror. Supreme Court agrees with 4th District that to allow either party to withdraw peremptory strike after the other party has accepted panel, revealing its jury selection strategy, would prejudice the other party. That portion of 4th District opinion appearing to endorse “blanket rule” against allowing party who has exhausted peremptory challenges to withdraw challenge before jury is sworn is disapproved, as “unusual or extenuating circumstances” such as those present in McIntosh might justify the practice. In McIntosh, state was allowed to withdraw peremptory challenge after pool was exhausted.