The Voir Dire Examination, Juror Challenges, and Adversary Advocacy

  • Gordon Bermant
  • John Shapard
Part of the Perspectives in Law & Psychology book series (PILP, volume 2)


Many trial lawyers believe that the voir dire examination and subsequent excuse (called “challenge”) of potential jurors are crucial components of their art. Following a recent, highly publicized Texas murder trial, for example, two of the five defense lawyers and one adviser to the prosecution credited the acquittal to the composition of the jury instead of the evidence presented at trial.1 When Joann Little was acquitted of murder in 1975, her defense attorney said that he had “bought” the verdict with a large defense fund, used in particular to support an exten-sive, systematic jury selection exercise.2 With such faith placed on the importance of juror selection, it is no wonder that trial lawyers talk and p juror Y write at length about how to test jurors for bias and what kinds of jurors are likely to be unfavorable to a client’s cause (see, for example, Bodin, 1976; Ginger, 1977).


Guilty Verdict Federal Judge Jury Selection Prospective Juror Trial Lawyer 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon Bermant
    • 1
  • John Shapard
    • 1
  1. 1.Federal Judicial CenterUSA

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