State v. Thomas, 230 N.C. App. 127 (Oct. 15, 2013)

Following State v. Holden, 346 N.C. 404 (1997), the court held that the trial court erred by refusing to allow the defendant to use a remaining peremptory challenge when a juror revealed mid-trial that she knew one of the State’s witnesses from high school. After re-opening voir dire on the juror, the trial court determined that there was no cause to remove her. The defendant then requested that he be allowed to use his remaining peremptory challenge, but this request was denied. The court reasoned that the trial court has discretion to re-open voir dire even after the jury has been empaneled. If that happens, each side has an absolute right to exercise any remaining peremptory challenges to excuse the juror.

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