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Judge Brady: Jury Selection and Vior Dire

On the morning of trial, counsel are given a random list of the prospective jurors’ names and copies of the juror questionnaires. Trial counsel may view the juror questionnaires in the Clerk’s Office the day before trial commences.

The Court typically seats eight jurors with no alternates, consistent with Civil Rule of Procedure 48. Counsel will be asked if the parties agree that the case may proceed to the jury and a verdict will be valid if any jurors are dismissed, so long as six jurors are present.

The Court will generally conduct the initial voir dire and will allow counsel to also conduct their own limited voir dire after the Court has completed the initial voir dire. When the Court and counsel are finished questioning the potential jurors, the Court will allow counsel time to confer with their clients regarding strikes to be made.

At the bench, the Court will invite cause challenges to those in the jury box. Thereafter, each side will have three peremptory challenges, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1870. The Court will invite a single peremptory challenge at a time, first from the plaintiff, then from the defendant, then back to the plaintiff, and so on. The Court does not allow back strikes.  Once counsel report no further strikes to persons remaining in the jury box, those individuals will be accepted as jurors.

The Court will place the first fourteen jurors from the randomized list into the jury box.  If counsel exercise fewer than six strikes, the first eight jurors in the jury box will constitute the jury.  If fewer than eight jurors remain in the jury box after counsel exercise their respective challenges, the Court will continue down the random list and place additional potential jurors in the jury box to complete the voir dire process.