Jury Selection

The names of prospective jurors are either manually or automatically randomly selected one at a time. That person takes a seat in the jury box (a group of chairs near the front of the courtroom). This continues until a specific number of prospective jurors (and in some cases, alternate jurors) has been selected.

Jurors take an oath to answer questions concerning their qualifications to serve as jurors. This is called VOIR DIRE (pronounced "vwar deer"). The lawyers representing each of the parties to the lawsuit make a general statement concerning what the suit is about and then begin questioning the prospective jurors to determine if they know anything about the case and if they are qualified to serve as members of the jury.

In the course of the voir dire examination, additional names (from the original panel list) may be drawn by the clerk. This happens because prospective jurors may be dismissed through a PEREMPTORY CHALLENGE (law which allows either side to remove a specific number of jurors without stating reasons). In addition, if any prospective juror has shown disability, interest or bias, he may be CHALLENGED FOR CAUSE. If the judge finds the cause sufficient, the juror will be excused from service on the case.

Eventually twelve (or in some cases, six) jurors are seated. They take an oath to try the case fairly.

At this point the actual trial to the jury begins.

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