General Question

guywithanaccountnow's avatar

What kind of questions do they give you when you show up for jury duty to see if you should be selected as a juror?

Asked by guywithanaccountnow (313points) January 19th, 2012

Horribly intrusive and revealing ones? Personal ones? That’s what I would be the most worried about.

I want someone who has experience showing up for jury duty to answer this question, because they can give specifics, not just general answers.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

11 Answers

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

When I was chosen, it was just a “raise your hand” kind of thing. Like, raise your hand if you have ever had a family member arrested, raise your hand if you have ever lived out of the state, raise your hand if you think police officers can lie.

marinelife's avatar

They often ask if you have any personal experience with a case like the one that you are going to be trying. So, if it was a murder trial, they would ask you if you knew anyone who had been murdered.

Here is a list of the types of questions asked during voir dire.

jca's avatar

“Do you have any cops in your family?”

They might ask something along the lines of “do you feel it’s possible that someone could be arrested under false pretenses?”

robmandu's avatar

There are a lot of people in the room for jury selection. They want to whittle it down quickly and painlessly. And so, no, I don’t think you should expect intimately personal questions.

They do ask questions of you that are somewhat related to the trial. I was selected for a DWI case. They asked us all if we’d ever been arrested for DWI, or if we thought that there was no physical way to prove DWI, or if we’d been personally injured by a DWI suspect.

Do not try to answer questions in such a way that you think they’ll drop you from the jury. First of all, it’s wrong… but it can also be a bit of a trap such that you might be exactly what either the prosecution or defense is looking for. Just be honest.

jaytkay's avatar

I was empaneled for a murder trial years ago. Fifty prospective jurors were led to the courtroom, where the judge, prosecutors and defense attorneys asked us questions. I think I was rejected by the defense, because I have close friends who are prosecutors.

Here is what I remember.

How old are you?

What do you do for a living?

Have you ever been arrested? Convicted? If so, describe the situation and do you believe you were treated fairly? (They may only have asked if we were convicted, I can’t remember)

Have you or a close family member or close friend been a victim of crime? If so, describe the situation.

Do you have any relationship (family, business, friends) to any of the parties involved.

Do you have close friends or relatives in law enforcement or the legal system?

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

The jury I was picked to be on was trying a case where two homeless guys got into a knife fight in front of the homeless shelter over booze and drugs. Not a very interesting case. The questions they asked were tailored specifically to weed out the Mormons (I live in Utah). I guess their questions were well thought-out because they found 12 non-members.

CWOTUS's avatar

First of all, the name of the process is voir dire (a term that you can google if you would like to).

In general, the lawyers for both sides of the case will question you – generally in a fairly impersonal and public manner – regarding your knowledge of the case, relationship to any of the parties in the suit, whether you’ve ever been involved in such a suit yourself, whether you have particular biases (or might have) based on your own relationships with persons or businesses like those involved in the suit. If the questions ever get to a “personal” nature, then the courtroom will be generally pretty well cleared for those questions, I believe.

For example, when I was selected for jury duty once, the case was about a person suing his insurance company. When it was established that I didn’t know the plaintiff, didn’t have a relationship with the insurance company (or with anyone who worked there or any of the attorneys, etc.), had never been involved in a dispute with an insurance company, didn’t know the particulars of this case, etc. there was no reason to exclude me, so I was selected.

That was completely impersonal. If you have any personal biases or experiences that bear on the case, then one attorney or the other will want to know that so that they can make a “peremptory challenge” (not challenging you, but your ability to serve as an impartial juror) and they will exclude you “for cause”. (I believe that the attorneys for either side have an unlimited number of challenges “for cause” if they can show cause why a juror should be excluded. They also have a limited number of “peremptory” challenges that they can use “just because” without having to explain a reason.)

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
SuperMouse's avatar

When I was empaneled they asked if there were any members of my family were in law enforcement, if I had ever been convicted of or the victim of a crime, things along those lines. Once I was questioned for a drunk driving case and they asked if I or anyone I knew had been the victim of a drunk driving accident or as @robmandu said, if I had a DUI. It isn’t terribly personal stuff, just things that are pertinent to the case at hand.

WestRiverrat's avatar

The only time I went for jury duty, they kicked me off the panel before they started asking questions. I don’t think the defense counsel liked my NRA/ILA hat.

The trial was for someone accused of robbing the local gun shop.

Jeruba's avatar

To the best of my recollection, I’ve always been asked for my occupation, whether I have a relative who is in law enforcement, whether I’ve been convicted of a crime, whether I think I could evaluate the evidence impartially, and whether I have ever served on a jury before; if so, did it reach a verdict? They always emphasize that this is a yes-and-no question—they don’t want to know the verdict, just whether one was reached. I guess they don’t want someone who was part of a hung jury.

I’ve reported for jury duty three or four times and been empaneled twice.

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther