State v. Thomas, 195 N.C. App. 593 (Mar. 3, 2009)

The trial court erred by denying the defendant the opportunity to use his one remaining peremptory challenge after voir dire was reopened. After the jury was impaneled, the judge learned that a seated juror had attempted to contact an employee in the district attorney’s office before impanelment. The trial judge reopened voir dire, questioned the juror, allowed the parties to do so as well, but denied the defendant’s request to remove the juror. The court of appeals noted that after a jury has been impaneled, further challenge of a juror is in the trial court’s discretion. However, once the trial court reopens examination of a juror, each party has an absolute right to exercise any remaining peremptory challenges.