Thank you for asking me “How does Jury Selection work? / What are the Mechanics of Voir Dire?”
Every jurisdiction (meaning each individual State as well as the federal government) has it’s own rules for jury selection, and even individual Judge’s vary as to how they conduct voir dire in their own courtrooms, but overall the concepts and goals are uniform.
The idea is to summon a pool of local residents to the Courthouse (in FL we do this by way of FL Driver License addresses), to syphon them off into courtrooms, and to ask them questions – many as a group and some individually – in order to determine who is qualified to serve as a juror and who among the qualified group can and will faithfully serve as a fair and impartial juror in a given case.
To streamline the process many jurisdictions give prospective jurors (also called the “venire”) a written questonairre seeking basic information, but in any event the Judge will almost universally begin with routine questions of the panel, the group as a whole, such as what they do for a living, if they have ever been accused of a crime or been a crime victim, if they’ve ever served as a juror before and so on. The Judge will usually follow up with generic questions that are designed to see if any juror cannot serve for any reason, is biased, cannot be fair to both sides or if there’s legal cause to excuse a potential juror.
After the Judge finishes then both the State and the defense lawyers are typically afforded a chance to ask questions of their own. Since they follow the Judge’s generic questioning, the lawyers usually ask questions that are more personal to individuals sitting on the panel, and these are typically designed to educate the panel as to the nature of their case, to get a feel for the personalities and the likely views of the potential jurors and to set the stage to weed out jurors that a lawyer thinks won’t be good for their case.
At Michael A. Haber, PA “it’s all about reasonable doubt”!
Please note that no attorney-client relationship with either Michael A. Haber, PA or Michael A. Haber, Esq. exists as a result of your watching this Webisode series. Further any and all information which is both contained in and may be construed from this Webisode series is generic in nature and should only be considered as informational and not as actual legal advise in any specific case. Should you wish to seek actual legal advise then please feel free to contact Michael A. Haber, Esq. as follows:
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