What is voir dire & why is it important?
Voir dire is the process of questioning potential jurors to determine whether they are fit to serve as jurors for a particular trial. For Arizona lawyers, the goal of the voir dire process is to ensure that no members of the jury harbor biases that could jeopardize the outcome of the case.
Without a strategic, well-prepared voir dire process, you run the risk of starting from behind with the jury when the trial begins.
The voir dire process
Each judge in Arizona handles the Voir Dire process differently but the process typically looks like this:
- Potential jurors are randomly selected from a pool of people who show up for jury duty.
- The judge asks standard questions to ensure that everyone is capable of serving on a jury. For example, if they’re a U.S. citizen, don’t have any hardships that would prevent them from sitting through the entire trial, etc.
- After those who are deemed incapable are excused, the Arizona attorneys deliver a mini-opening where they offer a 3-5 minute overview of the case.
- Following the mini-openings, both Arizona attorneys ask questions of the remaining potential jurors to determine bias.
- Following the questioning period, the Arizona attorneys can request that potential jurors be removed with cause of potential bias, with the judge holding the power to deny the requests.
- Arizona attorneys also have the right to reject a limited number of potential jurors without cause. The attorneys may feel these individuals have potential biases, but aren’t able to fully justify their feelings to the judge.