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NCJ Number: 63249 Find in a Library
Title: JUROR PERCEPTIONS - ENDING THE VOIR DIRE WARS
Journal: JUDGES' JOURNAL  Volume:45  Dated:(SPRING 1979)  Pages:44-48
Author(s): D U STRAWN
Corporate Author: American Bar Association
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: American Bar Association
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: COURT RULES FOR VOIR DIRE ARE SUGGESTED WHICH WILL LIMIT COUNSELS' ATTEMPTS TO DETERMINE OR INFLUENCE THROUGH VOIR DIRE QUESTIONING THE DECISION OF A POTENTIAL JUROR WITH RESPECT TO THE CASE AT ISSUE.
Abstract: 'FEDERALISTS' BELIEVE JUDGES SHOULD CONDUCT VOIR DIRE BECAUSE OF DEMONSTRATED COUNSEL ABUSES IN USING VOIR DIRE TO MANIPULATE THE COMPOSITION OF THE JURY IN FAVOR OF ONE SIDE. THE TRIAL BAR ARGUES THAT COURT-CONDUCTED VOIR DIRE IS UNACCEPTABLE BECAUSE THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO COUNSEL FOR USE IN EXERCISING PEREMPTORY CHALLENGES IS THEREBY REDUCED. A COMPROMISE THAT PICKS UP THE MERITS OF BOTH POSITIONS WOULD BE THE ESTABLISHMENT OF COURT RULES TO RESTRICT THE ABUSES OF COUNSEL-CONDUCTED VOIR DIRE. SUCH RULES SHOULD INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING PRINCIPLES: (1) COUNSEL SHOULD NEVER INQUIRE ABOUT A JUROR'S EMOTIONAL RESPONSES TO ANY CONCEPT OF LAW; (2) REDUNDANT VOIR DIRE (COUNSEL REWORDING OF THE JUDGE'S INSTRUCTIONS) MUST BE ELIMINATED; (3) BASIC BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION ABOUT VENIRE SHOULD BE ELICITED BEFORE TRIAL WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF COURT ADMINISTRATIVE STAFF; (4) ANY ATTEMPT TO COMMIT A JUROR TO ANY POSITION ABOUT A FACT OR LEGAL CONCEPT DURING VOIR DIRE SHOULD BE PROHIBITED; (5) ATTEMPTS TO ARGUE THE OUTCOME OR THE APPROPRIATENESS OF THE LITIGATION SHOULD BE PROHIBITED; (6) INQUIRY ABOUT THE VERDICT A JUROR MIGHT RENDER OR THOUGHTS A JUROR MIGHT HAVE ABOUT EVIDENCE MUST BE PROHIBITED; (7) DISCIPLINARY RULES PROHIBITING ATTEMPTS TO CURRY FAVOR WITH THE JURORS IN VOIR DIRE SHOULD BE ENFORCED; (8) ANY ATTEMPT TO STIMULATE PREJUDICE AND BIAS TO THE JURY SHOULD BE PROHIBITED; (9) COLLECTIVE QUESTIONS FOR THE ENTIRE PANEL SHOULD BE USED WHERE POSSIBLE; AND (10) INQUIRIES ABOUT JURORS' PERCEPTIONS OF THE LAW SHOULD BE FORBIDDEN. FOOTNOTES ARE PROVIDED. (RCB)
Index Term(s): Court rules; Critiques; Jury selection; Voir dire
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=63249

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