Selecting the Right Jurors - Voire Dire
Voire Dire is just a fancy way of describing jury selection, or more accurately, jury DE-selection. Once you have made the decision that a jury trial is best for you, one of the first steps of the process will be jury selection process. Your attorney, as well as the other party’s attorney will screen prospective jurors, trying their best to avoid selecting a juror that could hurt their case. This is one of the main reasons that you should be sure to get an experienced lawyer to represent you in your Texas family jury trial. If your lawyer doesn’t know what he or she is doing when it comes to jury selection, your trial could be doomed from the start.
What Happens During Voire Dire?
If you’ve never had jury duty before then you may have no idea the way a jury is selected. To keep it simple, a group of people are put into one room and then attorneys typically get a chance to briefly interact with some jurors by asking them questions that are not specific to the facts of the case. This is the time that a knowledgeable attorney knows is to be strategic, asking questions to determine the extent of a prospective juror’s knowledge or experience. If a juror is an accountant by trade for example, you may feel more confident in selecting that juror to help divide property in a divorce case.
Moreover, your attorney and his staff should be watching and vigilantly observing the behavior of the jurors. How is the juror dressed? Is the juror a stay-at-home mom or an engineer that makes a large salary? Your lawyer will closely observe their body language. Do they seem friendly or like they’d be sympathetic to your case? What are their personalities like? Hopefully, you end up with a jury that can relate to you, right? If so, that’s half the battle.
Your attorney must be quite skilled at striking any juror that could be harmful to your case. If your lawyer is wise, he or she will use their peremptory strikes wisely (strikes that don’t require lawyers to give a reason for striking a juror). Moreover, your lawyer should be skilled enough to ask the right type of questions to determine if a particular juror would be biased against you. For example, if a juror was recently involved in a divorce in which his spouse was granted full custody of their children, you may not want that juror to impact whether or not you should get full custody of your children. Remember, the jury will determine the fate of your Texas family law case, thereby deciding a large portion of your family’s future.