Voir Dire

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Definition of Voir Dire

Citizens may receive a jury summons which instructs them to meet at a courthouse on a specific date and time to potentially participate as a juror in a criminal or civil trial. To decide whether or not an individual should be a juror each attorney and potentially the trial judge will ask them a series of questions. Questions can include such topics as their life experiences, opinions and background information. This process is called the Voir Dire, and it is used to determine if the person can be an impartial juror. The term voir dire is from the Anglo-French term meaning "to speak the truth".

During the voir dire each attorney has the right to challenge the prospective jurors. Challenges can be for cause (due to a bias against the either the defendant or the plaintiff) or peremptory (without cause). If a juror is accepted by both the defending attorney and the prosecuting attorney they will be sworn in as a jury member.

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