Voir Dire and its Significance for a Trial Lawyer

By: Lala C. Ballatan

In California, veteran triallawyers would concede to the fact that a case may not always be won upon theselection of jury panel. Nonetheless, a case can also be easily lost in thatstrategic part of the trial process.

Every trial lawyer is awareof the fact that there are three very critical junctures in every trial. Thejury selection involving the voir dire, opening statement and conduct ofcross-examination on the very first witness are the major occasions that couldmake or unmake the client's case.

Voir Dire is actually a termof Anglo-French origins with the meaning "to speak the truth."

The Voir Dire process startswhen a number of people is selected to be jury and is issued with jury summonsto appear and gather in court. The people who were drawn together will be thesource from which the panel of jury will be formed. They will be divided intogroups as potential jurors for the trial.

Then, the lawyersrepresenting each party involved in the lawsuit to be tried will issuequestions for them. Sometimes the trial judge does such questioning. They willask about the potential juror's life background and experiences plus theiropinions. Their ability to be fair and objective will be assessed anddetermined based on their answers to the questions.

In voir dire process, thetrial lawyer can confront a potential juror "for cause" especiallyonce the person omits a statement that expresses a certain bias against thebest interests of the lawyer's case.

The trial lawyers of bothparties can also implement some "peremptory" challenges but quitelimited, wherein no reason is mandatory. The persons who are eventuallyaccepted by the lawyers on either sides or the trial judge, if he was the onewho conducted the voir dire, in any case, are impaneled as a member of thejury. They will be asked to take an oath in fulfilling this greatresponsibility.

Trial lawyers in Californiawho are worth their salt know how incredibly crucial the voir dire process isand makes considerable effort to be prepared for it.

As much as possible, a triallawyer must prepare early on and not just jot down the things he or she intendsto inquire about. It is recommended to do a profile research on every personwith jury summons and rehearse. He must also not fail to miss the opportunityof educating the prospective jurors about his case and pull out those who wouldbe most dangerous and harmful to you and your clients' case.

While the voir dire aims todetermine if the prospective jurors can be impartial and fair, the experiencedtrial lawyer is aware of the reality that this thing is not possible.

However, every person,whatever his or her profession, age, status or religion is, has two significantthings: life experiences and attitudes resulting from such experiences. Theskill of the trial lawyer must be focused on uncovering these turning pointexperiences and send away those who are hostile with the case and the client.

The key purposes of VoirDire must always be upheld in order to do a proper preparation:

-????????identify and dismissthe jurors that may be harmful for the interests of the lawyer's case

-????????present the theme oftheir case to the potential jurors

-????????Discover who among thejurors are in agreement with your case and find out their comments about theissues involved.

A California trial lawyerknows that he has to get the prospective juror to talk without reservations.This will ensure that the jury selected has a portion that would understand andsupport his case.

Our California Trial Lawyeris experienced in handling trial cases involving personal injury, employmentHealth Fitness Articles,social security disability and business laws in the state of California. Pleaselog on to our website at http://www.mesrianilaw.com/for more information about our services.

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