Law and Human Behavior

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 131–146 | Cite as

Judge-versus attorney-conducted voir dire

An empirical investigation of juror candor
  • Susan E. Jones


Broeder (1965) found that potential jurors frequently distort their replies to questions posed during the voir dire. Considerable controversy has arisen over whether more honest, accurate information is elecited by a judge or by an attorney. The experiment manipulated two target (judge-versus attorney-conducted voir dire) and two interpersonal style variables (personal versus formal). The dependent measure was the consistency of subjects' attitude reports given at pretest and again verbally in court. One-hundred-and-sixteen jury-eligible community residents participated. The results provide support for the hypothesis that attorneys are more effective than judges in eliciting candid self-disclosure from potential jurors. Subjects changed their answers almost twice as much when questioned by a judge as when interviewed by an attorney. It was suggested that the judge's presence evokes considerable pressure toward conformity to a set of perceived judicial standards among jurors, which is minimized during an attorney voir dire.


Social Psychology Dependent Measure Accurate Information Community Resident Considerable Controversy 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan E. Jones
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AlabamaUSA

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