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Jury – Selection – Bias / Disqualification — Doubtful Fairness: Equivocal Statement — Deference to Trial Court Finding

State v. James H. Oswald, 2000 WI App 3, 232 Wis.2d 103, 606 N.W.2d 238
For Oswald: James L. Fullin, Jr., SPD, Madison Appellate

Issue: Whether an equivocal declaration of impartiality by a prospective juror is enough to establish subjective bias, given a trial court’s finding to the contrary.

Holding: The issue of a prospective juror’s subjective bias is reviewed on appeal through “a very deferential lens”; an unequivocal declaration of impartiality is not necessary to sustain a finding of no bias. ¶¶6-7 (court implies that only “an intractable bias against” an assertion of a fundamental constitutional right would suffice).

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