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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 119185 Find in a Library
Title: More Efficient Method of Jury Selection for Lengthy Trials
Journal: Judicature  Volume:73  Issue:1  Dated:(June-July 1989)  Pages:43-47
Author(s): D Bilecki
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 5
Type: Program Description (Model)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The judges of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California use Pre-Voir Dire Questionnaires (PVDQ) to screen out in advance those unable to serve, thus saving the court time and money.
Abstract: The court conducts about 120 jury trials each year, of which 5 to 7 last longer than 1 month. Before the court started using the PVDQ, the size of the jury panel needed to accommodate voir dire for a lengthy trial would be two to four times larger than the standard size of 23 members for civil cases and 40 members for criminal cases. The high costs of the large jury panels, the extensive court time spent screening panelists for availability, and the increasing number of protracted trials prompted the development of the PVDQ process. The questionnaire virtually eliminates the need to address the question of juror availability during voir dire and avoids prolonging the impanelment process. Use of the PVDQ also promotes accurate decisionmaking by prospective jurors, who can consider the pros and cons of prolonged jury service at their own pace and with an opportunity to consult family and/or employers. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the prescreening process in 1985. In addition, a 1986 study of 800 prospective jurors in 6 jury pools found the panels and those excused for cause to be similar in terms of race, gender, education, and employment status. Wider use of PVDQ would streamline jury selection and save money. Figures and tables.
Main Term(s): Voir dire
Index Term(s): Alternative court procedures; California; Jury selection
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