Yes and yes. The juror who would require DNA evidence to convict someone, like the juror who would require more than one witness’s testimony, is qualified to serve as a juror. It’s up to you to strike these upstanding representatives of the community from the jury. Suck it up.
Then SC, moved by the spirit, asks:
Ah, the law. While I’m glad to see my esteemed colleague, the author Tarian, making an effort at reading the law, I would humbly suggest that his understanding of the subject might benefit from reading the cases he has cited, rather than just their headnotes.
The law doesn’t require any particular sort of evidence to support a conviction, but a juror may. This is the difference between legal sufficiency and factual sufficiency.
Garza says what Tarian says it says — “a potential juror who could not believe a witness simply for the fact of being a child would properly be excused for cause” — but only in dicta (the only use of the word “cause” in the body, rather than the headnotes, of the case), and that based on two cases that don’t even say what Garza says they say.
Robinson, on the other hand, is a Texarkana case. Legal scholars still argue over whether Texarkana is Texas or Arkansas.
Both Robinson and Garza came before Standefer and the Texas “commitment question” jurisprudence.
A juror can be committed to convicting if he believes the evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. He can’t be committed to believing any sort of evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.
Anywhere but in Texarkana, a Texas juror is free to define reasonable doubt to require more than one witness, or to require medical testimony or DNA. That is, in fact, why the “one-witness-rule” question is phrased as it is. Read Lee, which Tarian cited:
If these jurors were challenged for cause simply because they needed more than one witness to convict, then they were invalidly challenged for cause. If they were challenged for cause because they could not convict based upon one witness whom they believed beyond a reasonable doubt, and whose testimony proved every element of the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt, then they were validly challenged for cause.
Also take a look at Castillo, which Tarian cited (apparently without reading, or at least without understanding):
Unless reasonable doubt is a fixed point-unless, in other words, the law requires a jury to convict whenever presented with legally sufficient evidence-a venireman who will not be convinced beyond a reasonable doubt on the testimony of a single eyewitness is nevertheless a venireman who can follow the law. If the State does not want that venireman on the jury, it is obliged to use one of its statutorily allotted peremptory challenges to remove him.
That’s the heart of the matter: the ability of each juror to decide what “beyond a reasonable doubt” means to her.
The “one-witness-rule” jury selection question looks good, as I wrote at first, on paper; Texas’s courts have approved it in a very specific form. That the question in this form is used by prosecutors to trick potential jurors into disqualifying themselves should be beyond question in light of Harris County prosecutors’ misunderstanding of the requirements to serve as a juror and their avowed desire to remove from the jury anyone who doesn’t share their wide-eyed credulity.