You are here

Judge DeGuilio: Jury Selection and Voir 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 after 2:00 p.m. the day before trial commences.

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

The Court will conduct the voir dire and will invite counsel to the bench to see if they would like additional questions asked when he is finished. If during the course of voir dire, a person appears subject to a cause challenge, the Court may offer to excuse the venireperson. The Court then places the first eight jurors from the randomized list into the box, and the Court will ask individualized questions to the jurors in the box based on their jury questionnaires. When the judge is finished, he will again ask counsel at a side-bar if additional questions are requested. The Court will then 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.

Once both sides report no further peremptories as to those in the jury box, those remaining in the box will be deemed jurors, and the Court will continue down the random list to tender the number necessary to bring the total number of persons selected and tendered back to eight. The Court does not allow backstrikes; once counsel report no further strikes to persons remaining in the jury box, those individuals will be accepted as jurors.