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Voir Dire

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Definition:

Latin for “to speak the truth” (i.e., to render a true verdict), this phrase refers to the examination of prospective jurors under oath to determine bias or preconceived notions of guilt or innocence.

In the voir dire process, attorneys, the court and the parties pose a series of questions to prospective jurors to determine their suitability to sit on the jury. A written questionnaire often precedes this oral questioning and aids counsel in selecting an impartial jury panel. The questioning lawyers may dismiss a juror for cause, such as when bias exists. The attorneys also have a limited number of peremptory challenges that they can use to dismiss a juror for any or no reason.

Pronunciation:

Vwar-dear

Also Known As:

Jury Questions, Jury Selection

Examples:

During voir dire, prospective jurors were asked if they had ever previously been a member of a trial jury, whether they knew the plaintiff, the defendants or their lawyers, and whether they had any prior knowledge of the case.

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