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Judge Van Bokkelen: Criminal Voir Dire

Criminal jury trials normally have twelve jurors and two alternates. 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, 40 prospective jurors will be called to the trial. The parties will be given a computer-generated, random list of the prospective jurors' names. The parties will also be given copies of the one-page jury questionnaire completed by each prospective juror. The Clerk will collect the questionnaires after the jury is selected.

Judge Van Bokkelen performs his own voir dire. Parties should submit voir dire questions to the court for review. The Court will determine which questions are appropriate and will address them to the entire venue. After the court finishes voir dire, the parties may submit additional questions for the Court’s review.

At the conclusion of questioning, twelve jurors will randomly be called to sit in the jury box. At this time, the Court will take a 10 to 15 minute recess.

Following the break, the parties may strike against the seated jurors. Each side will strike alternatively. Stricken jurors will be dismissed and will be replaced by new randomly selected jurors from the panel. At this time, the parties may only strike against new jurors; no back strikes are allowed.

After the twelve jurors are selected, the alternate jurors are chosen in simlar fashion.

You may see Judge Van Bokkelen’s standard voir dire questions here