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Though there are many different voir dire questions that can be asked of a potential jury, most questions serve one of two purposes. Initial questions are often used to ensure that people chosen to serve as part of a jury will be able to serve for the full length of the trial. Secondary questions are then asked to determine any prejudices or particular points of view individual jurors may have that could have an impact on how they might hear the evidence in a case. While numerous lists of voir dire questions are available, most lawyers refine these lists and create their own questions.
Voir dire questions are questions asked of a jury, usually by the judge or lawyers in a case, to determine how well potential jurors may perform the duties required of them during a case. There are many different questions that can be asked during the voir dire process, and the judge or attorney asking these questions often has different goals behind the questions asked. Some common voir dire questions include “Do you have any medical or professional reasons why you may be unavailable for the duration of the trial?” and “Do you have any difficulties reading, writing, and speaking English (or equivalent local language)?” These are typically asked to identify any jurors who may have health issues that could preclude them from serving the full length of a trial and candidates who may be unable to fulfill the tasks necessary of a juror.
Many voir dire questions also involve any biases or viewpoints potential jurors may have. These can be fairly vague or generalized, such as “Have you or a family member been involved in a civil lawsuit?” or “Have you recently served as a witness during a court trial?” For some cases, these questions may be about more specific issues, such as juror candidates for a murder trial being asked “Would you be able to recommend the death sentence if the defendant was found guilty?” The answers to these voir dire questions can then be used by attorneys to eliminate potential jurors who they determine could view a case in a way that would not be beneficial to them.
Voir dire questions can also be used to determine the personality of potential jurors. These questions may be used to determine if someone is a follower or a leader through questions like “Have you ever worked in management?” or “Do you dislike following someone else’s lead?” This allows an attorney to identify who is likely to be a leader during jury deliberations, which then allows the lawyer to better understand the role such jurors may play during deliberation. These voir dire questions can be a combination of open-ended and closed questions, and some lawyers prefer to use multiple choice questions to elicit responses from jurors who may otherwise be unable to provide an effective answer in their own words.