Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Voir Dire

Finally they called my juror number and I was allowed to leave the "big room" where all 400+ jury poolers must hang out until we're told to do something.

Yesterday afternoon about 40 of us were sent upstairs to a courtroom for "voir dire," which is pretty much a set of questions they ask to determine whether I'd be one of 13 lucky folks who would be chosen to sit on a real live jury. This was a criminal case. Robbery.

The attorneys for both the prosecution and the defense were there (two on each side). A police detective was there. The judge and the judge's staff were there. And the accused person was there.

The judge read the indictment and gave us some basic instructions then the attorneys took turns questioning us as a group. "Do you know anyone involved in this case?" "Have you ever been robbed yourself?" "If members of the police force testify in this case, would you be more or less likely to believe what they say over the testimony of other witnesses?"

Wow. Did that question get some interesting responses. Everything from "I hate cops" to "Police officers would know more than anyone else what really happened."

The attorneys watched us like hawks. They made notes about our answers and our facial expressions along with our genders, ages and ethnicity.

After about 90 minutes were were given a 45 minute break while they selected the jury for the case.

No, I was not picked.

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