You are here

Judge Simon: Jury Selection in Criminal Cases

For criminal cases, Judge Simon will seat a petit jury of 12 jurors plus one or more alternate jurors. In most cases, anywhere from 35 to 45 prospective jurors will be called to the trial. In high profile cases or depending upon the nature of the charges, a greater number of prospective jurors may be called. The parties will be given a random list of the prospective jurors’ names. The parties will also be given copies of the questionnaire that prospective jurors fill out when they arrive in court. The courtroom deputy will collect the copies of the questionnaire after the jury is selected.

The courtroom deputy will call 12 names at random and those people will be placed in the jury box. Judge Simon will ask all the questions of the potential jurors. In criminal cases, Judge Simon uses this set of standard voir dire questions. He will instruct jurors seated in the gallery to listen carefully to questions they might need to voice their responses to later in the process.

After Judge Simon completes his questioning, he will entertain challenges for cause to the jurors seated in the jury box. After challenges for cause have been completed, the court will then accept peremptory challenges. The government has 6 peremptory challenges and the defendant or defendants jointly have 10 challenges. They are exercised simultaneously by writing on a slip of paper the name and seat number of the juror challenged. If both sides challenge the same juror, that strike counts against both parties. As challenges are exercised, prospective jurors will be replaced at random from the venire as needed. The process is repeated until 12 jurors acceptable to the parties are seated in the jury box.

After the number of alternates is determined, that number of additional potential jurors are called randomly from the gallery. Those persons are questioned and subjected to challenges for cause or to one peremptory challenge per party, with additional replacements called until the required number of alternates are seated.