Date: 24 Mar 2011

Systematic Jury Selection

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Abstract

Jury selection takes place during voir dire, the pretrial proceeding during which the judge and attorneys question potential jurors with the aim of identifying venire members who are unfit for jury service. Jury “selection” is a bit of a misnomer as attorneys do not choose individuals to serve on the jury; instead jurors who are unable to remain impartial are deselected from jury service. Voir dire proceedings may take different forms depending on the jurisdiction. Many states have adopted very limited voir dire in which the judge poses questions to venire members. In extended voir dire, questioning is conducted by the judge and both attorneys (Jones, 1987). The judge holds discretion over the content and length of questioning. The manner of questioning during voir dire can also vary; although questioning is frequently conducted in open court, in some circumstances the judge may choose to question venirepersons individually (for a discussion of limited vs. extended voir dire, see Johnson & Haney, 1994).