Monday, February 11, 2019

Pennsylvania Supreme Court To Review Case In Which Question of Presence of Trial Court Judges At Jury Selection is Implicated

Tort Talkers may recall the buzz caused by the Pennsylvania Superior Court's decision in the case of Trigg v. Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, No. 2018 Pa. Super. 129 (Pa. Super. May 14, 2018 Kunselmen, Olson, J.J.; Bowes, J., concurring) (Op. by Kunselmen, J.), in which that Court noted that a trial court judge should sit in on, and preside over, jury selection, in order to be able to apply a certain standard of review on appeal.

As a status update on this case, it is noted that, in an Order handed down on January 23, 2019, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently granted allocatur on the appeal of this case.

In its one-page order granting allocatur, the Supreme Court agreed to hear argument on three issues:

“a. Whether the Superior Court’s decision conflicted with the jurisprudence of this Honorable Court and other Superior Court decisions by failing to apply the ‘palpable error’ abuse of discretion standard of review and properly defer to the trial court?

b. Whether the Superior Court’s holding directly conflicts with Shinal v. Toms, 162 A.3d 429 (Pa. 2017), which requires the denial of a strike for cause of a prospective juror when the prospective juror is willing and able to eliminate influences and render a verdict according to the evidence?

c. Whether the Superior Court improperly considered arguments regarding juror demeanor when those arguments were waived?”

Anyone wishing to review the Supreme Court's Order may click this LINK.
It remains to be seen to what extent the Pennsylvania Supreme Court will comment on the presence of a trial court judge at jury selection.
Here's a LINK to the Tort Talk post on the Superior Court's decision in the Trigg case.  That post contains a Link to the actual decision by the Pennsylvania Superior Court.  The Superior Court was pretty strong in its suggestion that a trial court judge should be present for jury selection.
What do you think?

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