Problems With Judge Voir Dire


Notes I wrote during a federal judge’s voir dire a few months ago:

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A judge’s voir dire is calculated to get jurors to promise to follow the law while a lawyer’s voir dire is calculated to find those who might have difficulty following the law.

A judge’s voir dire is calculated to get jurors to agree with the judge while a lawyer’s voir dire is calculated to find those who disagree.

A judge’s voir dire is calculated to qualify more jurors while a lawyer’s voir dire is calculated to find those who are not qualified.

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0 responses to “Problems With Judge Voir Dire”

  1. Quite likely. When the judge is doing a wholly worthless voir dire, there’s not a whole lot for second-chair counsel to do other than calculate the mean age of the jurors (seven years younger than the panel we busted the day before when the lawyers got voir dire).

  2. My favorite is the judge explaining to the jury that it is against the law for them to take the defendant’s race into account in their deliberations. Then the judge asks them if they can follow that? Is anyone going to say no? Then the judge says the defendant is presumed innocent and comes before them with a clean slate and has not burden to prove his innocence, and the judge asks them if they can follow that rule? Who will say no? Then the prosecution gets to argue in closing that they are to use their common sense in deciding guilty, which common sense tells them that if the police charged the guy, he is guilty, especiallly if he is black.

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