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Judge Miller: Jury Selection/Voir Dire

Judge Miller ordinarily seats 8 jurors in a civil trial. Each side is entitled to three peremptory challenges. Generally, twenty to twenty-two 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. on the Friday before trial commences. Copies of the juror questionnaires will be made available to counsel on the morning of trial.

The first 16 names on the random list will be the jurors placed in the jury box when voir dire commences. Judge Miller does not physically move prospective jurors around the courtroom during jury selection; seats will be left empty, and prospective jurors will be tendered in the order established by the random list.

Judge Miller will conduct the first part of the voir dire. Proposed voir dire questions must be filed at least 14 days before the final pretrial conference. Judge Miller ordinarily will allow counsel to conduct ten minutes of voir dire. Voir dire will be conducted of the entire venire at the same time.

If, during the course of the judge's voir dire, a venireperson appears about 90 percent certain to be subject to a cause challenge, Judge Miller will offer to excuse the venireperson (to avoid answers that might contaminate others) unless counsel have additional questions to propose. If counsel has any objection to the immediate removal of that venireperson, ask to approach the bench with a question. If neither side asks to do so, that venireperson will be excused immediately.

After the questioning is completed, Judge Miller will invite counsel to the bench and invite additional questions made appropriate by answers given on the questionnaires or during voir dire.

Still at the bench, Judge Miller will then invite all cause challenges directed to any member of the panel (not just those in the jury box).

Still at the bench, Judge Miller then will tender for peremptory challenges the first 12 unchallenged persons on the random list (or more than eight in a longer trial). The court will invite a single peremptory challenge at a time, first from the plaintiff(s), then from the defendant(s), then back to the plaintiff(s), and so on. Once both sides report no further peremptories as to the tendered group, those remaining in that tender will be deemed jurors, and the judge will continue down the random list to tender the number necessary to bring the total of persons selected and tendered back to 12. Judge Miller does not allow backstrikes; once counsel report no further strikes to persons remaining in a tender, those individuals will be accepted as jurors.