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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 91619 Find in a Library
Title: Voir Dire in the Criminal Case - A Primer
Journal: Trial  Volume:19  Issue:10  Dated:(October 1983)  Pages:60-65,108
Author(s): D C Johnson
Date Published: 1983
Page Count: 5
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article provides guidelines for attorneys in the selecting of jurors.
Abstract: Counsel should know precisely the type of juror desired for a case before voir dire begins. The nature of the case should be analyzed, particularly with respect to possible emotional or prejudicial undercurrents. A discussion among the attorney, the client, a psychologist, and others can help develop profiles of the ideal and least desirable jurors. Voir dire may properly be used to determine whether a juror satisfies statutory requirements for serving on a jury. Jurors also may be questioned to determine whether they can fairly and impartially participate in deliberation on the issues in the cases based solely on the law and evidence presented at trial; however, the extent of questioning for this purpose is restricted to determining if the juror is biased or prejudiced as a matter of law. The courts also recognize that voir dire may be used to obtain information useful in exercising peremptory challenges. Once counsel has obtained the information disclosed by the jurors, it should be interpreted according to empirical evidence regarding the influence of personality and occupational characteristics on decisionmaking in criminal cases. Counsel must continually be mindful of the fact that regardless of juror characteristics, trial evidence is by far the more important determinant of the verdict, which is in turn interpreted under the influence of the logic and persuasion of counsel. Thirty-eight references are provided.
Index Term(s): Defense preparation; Juror characteristics; Jury selection; Voir dire
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