(a) Challenges to the Entire Panel. Challenges to the entire panel shall only be sustained for a material departure from the procedures prescribed by law for their selection.
(b) Voir Dire. A voir dire examination shall be conducted for the purpose of discovering any basis for challenge for cause and for the purpose of gaining knowledge to enable an intelligent exercise of peremptory challenges. The judge shall initiate the voir dire examination by identifying the parties and their respective counsel and by briefly outlining the nature of the case. The judge and counsel may then ask the prospective jurors questions touching their qualifications to serve as jurors in the case, subject to the supervision of the court as appropriate to the facts of the case.
(c) Challenges for Cause.
(1) If the judge after examination of any juror is of the opinion that grounds for challenge are present, he or she shall excuse that juror from the trial of the case. If the judge does not excuse the juror, any party may challenge the juror for cause.
(2) RCW 4.44.150 through 4.44.200 shall govern challenges for cause.
(d) Exceptions to Challenge.
(1) Determination. The challenge may be excepted to by the adverse party for insufficiency and, if so, the court shall determine the sufficiency thereof, assuming the facts alleged therein to be true. The challenge may be denied by the adverse party and, if so, the court shall try the issue and determine the law and the facts.
(2) Trial of Challenge. Upon trial of a challenge, the Rules of Evidence applicable to testimony offered upon the trial of an ordinary issue of fact shall govern. The juror challenged, or any other person otherwise competent, may be examined as a witness by either party. If a challenge be determined to be sufficient, or if found to be true, as the case may be, it shall be allowed, and the juror to whom it was taken excluded; but if not so determined or found otherwise, it shall be disallowed.
(e) Peremptory Challenges.
(1) Peremptory Challenges Defined. A peremptory challenge is an objection to a juror for which there is no reason given, but upon which the court shall exclude the juror. In prosecutions for capital offenses the defense and the state may challenge peremptorily 12 jurors each; in prosecution for offenses punishable by imprisonment in the state Department of Corrections 6 jurors each; in all other prosecutions, 3 jurors each. When several defendants are on trial together, each defendant shall be entitled to one challenge in addition to the number of challenges provided above, with discretion in the trial judge to afford the prosecution such additional challenges as circumstances warrant.
(2) Peremptory Challenges--How Taken. After prospective jurors have been passed for cause, peremptory challenges shall be exercised alternately first by the prosecution then by each defendant until the peremptory challenges are exhausted or the jury accepted. Acceptance of the jury as presently constituted shall not waive any remaining peremptory challenges to jurors subsequently called.
Comment: Supersedes RCW 10.49.030, .040, .050, .060.
Amended Effective December 26, 2000