Objection: Trial lawyer failed to object
Posted on Aug 19, 2013 2:55pm PDT
In State v. Samora, a juror was excused from jury duty because he did not understand English very well. The Defendant's trial lawyer failed to timely object to excusing the juror, and later was convicted of murder. On appeal, the Supreme Court of New Mexico found that it is not lawful to excuse a juror based on their ability to understand English. But, the Court also found, in essence, that since the trial lawyer failed to object during the trial, the conviction will not be overturned. This case was a very important reminder that trial lawyers have to stay on their feet and bring appropriate objections timely. The failure to do so in this case proved costly. How costly was the error? Basically, the Supreme Court's decision reads something like this: The Constitution of the State of New Mexico, Art. VII, Sec. 3, guarantees that everyone can sit on a jury regardless of language, race, religion or color only if you complain about it on time. Ouch!