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Voir Dire in Other Parts of the Country

It looks like I’m in a “jury duty” state of mind today. Here’s a second interesting post regarding juries, this time the process of selecting a jury.

Just to set the context up, some lawyers believe it is important to have as much time as necessary to conduct voir dire (a fancy way of saying “interview the prospective jurors to weed out the biased ones”). Many judges, however, prefer to limit voir dire because they want to speed the process along and voir dire can be very time-consuming.

Here in Southern California, prospective jurors are typically interviewed by the judge and attorneys 12 to 18 at a time, while a roomful of prospective jurors sit in the audience gallery and look on. According to Connecticut lawmakers, “In Connecticut, it takes 10 hours to pick a jury for serious criminal trials and 16 hours for civil cases, the study found. No other state came close. The second-slowest states clock in at five hours for criminal cases and four for civil trials. The fastest state, South Carolina, takes only 30 minutes to pick juries in civil and criminal cases.” That’s because, in Connecticut, the prospective jurors are interviewed one-on-one! Wow, sounds pretty good to me. Connecticut lawmakers are now discussing a law to limit the time spent on voir dire.

You can read all about it here.

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