Voir Dire: The Jury Selection Process

Voir Dire: The Jury
Selection Process
Mr. Calella
Introduction to Law
Fact Pattern Analysis: State v.
Matilda Boombatze
Read the fact pattern (see today’s date in wiki)
Make a two-column list of juror qualities
Name and block up top
 One side, list the favorable qualities/features sought
by the defense
 Do the same thing on the other side for the
What is it?
Selection process; French for “to tell the
 Prospective jurors questioned and
challenged for bias
 Jurors are not “selected”; challenges are
used to eliminate those jurors who are
most likely to be prejudiced
 Need to have 12 jurors plus substitutes
Two types
 “For Cause” Challenges
 If
prospective juror exhibits bias; Examples?
 Unlimited, but judge must approve
Peremptory Challenges
 Any
reason at all; Examples?
 Not SUPPOSED to for (race, gender, ethnicity),
but it probably happens all the time
 Limited number (Criminal case, more for def.)
Importance of the Voir Dire
One of the most important aspects of trial
 Could
last as long as the trial
PURPOSE-to obtain fair & impartial jury
 Could be a battle of wits between the
attorneys. How so?
 It (ideally) is used to achieve a crosssection representation of the community
How it works?
12 names called at random and sit in box
 Prosecutor or plaintiff’s attorney goes 1st and
issues both kinds of challenges
 Successfully challenged jurors are replaced and
the replacements are then challenged, etc.
 Once prosecution/plaintiff is satisfied, the
defense issues its challenges, etc.
 This goes back and forth until both sides are
satisfied or run out of challenges
We will use the same fact pattern we started the
class with
Volunteers needed to be attorneys (write out
proposed ?s on paper; see sample ?s)
 2 for Pros. (4 Peremptory; No limit for cause)
 2 for Defense (same as above)
Rest of the class will take on multiple identities of
prospective jury members; write a one-paragraph
“background” for each of your characters
I will be the Judge
Activity (continued)
I will call the juror names at random, and
when one of your identities are called you
will come sit in the “jury box”
 Prosecution will go first until satisfied, then
defense, etc.
 At end of procedure, we will look at the
jury’s make-up as compared to the fact