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Judge DeGuilio: Criminal Jury Selection and Voir Dire

The Court will normally seat twelve jurors and two alternates for a trial of two weeks or less, and will increase the number if longer than two weeks. The defendant is entitled to ten, and the government to six, peremptory challenges, with an additional peremptory per side for every two alternate jurors. Generally, 35 to 40 prospective jurors will be called to the trial. The parties will be given a random list of the prospective jurors' names. Attorneys for the parties may view the juror questionnaires in the Clerk's Office after 2:00 p.m. one business day before trial commences. Copies of the juror questionnaires will be made available to counsel on the morning of trial.

The Court will conduct the voir dire to the entire venire. Proposed voir dire questions must be filed, and a list of possible witnesses submitted to chambers, at least three business days before the trial, or as otherwise set by the Court. Prior to this deadline, the Court will file on CM/ECF its proposed voir dire questions, and counsel are expected to submit any additions or objections to those questions.

If during the course of the voir dire, a venireperson appears subject to a cause challenge, the Court will call counsel to the bench to discuss the subject of the potential challenge. After the questioning is completed with the entire panel, the first 12 jurors will be called into the jury box and further questioned on the basis of the juror questionnaires. Once the questioning of the 12 jurors in the box is completed, the Court will call up counsel for any additional questions.

Next, the Court will call counsel up and ask for challenges for cause and for peremptory challenges. Counsel for the Government and for the Defense will exercise their peremptory challenges alternatively, with the defense striking first. The stricken jurors will be excused and the courtroom deputy will call the next jurors on the random list to fill their seats. There are no backstrikes. This procedure will continue until 12 jurors are selected. The same procedure will take place in selecting the alternates, except each side receives just one peremptory challenge per two alternates.