The process seeks to question jurors about their knowledge of the jury process, and aims to instill constitutional rights during the court session. The main objective of voir dire is to ensure that the trial proceeds in the presence of a group of impartial judges who seek to state the subjective or substantial truth, and nothing otherwise. It also aims to assure the defendant that the jury will observe their sixth amendment rights as per the constitution. During voir dire, the prospective judges obtain the correct information for the court sessions. They also need to be in a position to observe all the court rule and regulations.
An effective voir dire process is a jury selection procedure that is not time wasting. The process also needs to be cost-effective and aims to eliminate any unnecessary jury selection costs. Additionally, an effective voir dire procedure refers to one that is either led by a judge or an attorney who understands and upholds the rights of the selected lawyers for questioning (Johnson & Haney, 1994). The process is deemed effective if it is none biased, regarding age, gender, and race, among other factors. On the same note, an effective voir dire process is one that is central to the trial process. Thus, it is a procedure that helps judges in observing every steps and occurrence that take place during the trial procedures. An effective voir dire, therefore, should provide lawyers with the necessary information, knowledge and skills required for making the necessary intelligent use for peremptory challenges. An effective voir dire should also be valuable in rooting out prejudiced judges, increase public regard for all the justice systems in the country, and be less costly to the system in general. On the same note, an effective voir dire should make it possible for lawyers and judges to ensure that the court proceedings occur effectively without hindrances based on false information (Johnson & Haney, 1994).
According to the finding in "Felony voir dire," the types of judges removed or exempted during the process include those who are over the age of sixty years and above (Johnson & Haney, 1994). Similarly, the system does not include judges aged below twenty-five years. On the same note, the process aims to exclude attorneys who are hostile to the sides of the defendants and the plaintiff. Before a jury can be chosen to preside over a case, they must go through the selection process. During the procedure, the chosen lawyers are subjected to various types of questions that determine their knowledge of the procedures of the court systems. Ultimately, the questioning time aims to expose their nature of hostility of otherwise to the side of the defendant and the plaintiff.
Upon realizing that some jurors exhibit antagonistic acts towards either side, they will be excluded from the selected group of jury (Johnson & Haney, 1994). Lawyers view judges with intimidating approaches as being unfavorable to the court proceedings. Similarly, such a person will also make it impossible for the trial process to continue as expected. In the end, the lawyers will be unable to establish an effective ruling over the case. That is, they will not be unable to state beyond any reasonable doubt whether the accused is guilty or not. Similarly, hostile lawyers lead to the prolonging of the court sessions which is also time consuming and expensive. Similarly, such lawyers must be eliminated during the voir dire process. Otherwise, they would make the public adopt a negative perspective on the justice system. Further research also indicates that aggressive lawyers tend to slow the court process and act from an emotional point of view; an attribute that the law prohibits. Therefore, lawyers from both sides will exclude those below the age of 25 years, judges deemed hostile to both sides and mainly the above the age of fifty-nine to sixty years (Johnson & Haney, 1994).
Johnson and Haney (1994) measures whether lawyers gain success in removing jurors who are likely to bias to them, by examining whether these layers are hostile to the sides of the defendants and that of the plaintiff. Thus, during the selection process and once the selected jurors go through the questioning process, the lawyers will be keen to observe how the examinees answer the relevant questions. They will look at whether they show high, low or no levels of hostility towards the plaintiff and the defendants side. Once they can point out those with antagonistic views and approaches towards either side, then the lawyers will be excluded in the list of the juries to oversee the case. In so doing, the jurors will be successful in excluding lawyers found to be hostile to either side. If applied aptly, examining the levels of hostility is a successful method of excluding jurors from taking over the case.
Similarly, the authors also scrutinize whether jurors succeed in eliminating lawyers who are likely to be biased to them, by examining whether the overall voir dire process is effective in eliminating potential judges, who possess attitude that should disqualify them from serving on the panel of the selected juries to preside over the case (Johnson & Haney, 1994). Undoubtedly, it is important for each side to have a fair trial during any case. Therefore, if any of the chosen, lawyers going through the voir dire process, exhibits an attitude that may jeopardize fair trials, then the jurors will automatically exempt them from the final list of the lawyers taking over the case.
To be successful in eliminating lawyers who might be biased against either side, lawyers examine whether the jurors, going through the selection process, have the necessary skills and knowledge in undertaking their roles as judges (Johnson & Haney, 1994). This ability will make it possible for the judges to recount their values, beliefs, attitudes, and experiences during the process. Stating these factors makes it possible for lawyers to know the judges who have the skills and knowledge about a fair and impartial trial process compared to those who do not have such knowledge. In so doing, they will be able to exempt lawyers who lack such skills and knowledge. Similarly, lawyers will automatically disqualify those judges who do not show high moral principles during the court systems. By eliminating those who lack strong moral principles during court, the lawyers will be able to remove those who may be biased towards them during the trial procedures.
The research by Johnson and Haney (1994) indicates that lawyers are always successful in removing jurors who may be biased against them. They do this by removing those who are hostile to the sides of the defendant and that of the plaintiff. Similarly. Lawyers succeed in removing such lawyers by looking at their attitudes, values, beliefs, and practices do not meet the conditions required for fair and just trial. Similarly, the lawyers look at whether the juror holds the need for a fair trial as central importance to the court proceedings. If the judges do not pose these important qualities, then the lawyers will have to exclude them from the list of jurors because of their biases based on such similar grounds. The lawyers also succeed in eliminating jurors who might be biased against them by determining whether they have the knowledge, skills, and abilities to ensure that t he trial process is impartial and not biased on any grounds (Johnson & Haney, 1994). Lawyers without these factors will be eliminated. Lawyers are also able to eliminate jurors who might be biased against them by establishing whether they fully understand their duties, obligation, and the whole court system requirement. If they do not then, the lawyer will exempt them because they can use such loopholes in being biased to either side of the case. Similarly, those judges whoshows inability to show fairness in evaluating evidence during the trial will be eliminated by the lawyers during the voir dire process hence making it possible for lawyers to eliminate biased jurors.
The differences between expansive and limited voir dire are that expansive questioning process adopts the use of pretrial questionnaires developed by the jurors, as opposed to the limited method that does not use pre-trial juror questionnaires (Hans & Jehle, 2003). The pretrial questions make the expansive voir dire superior because while coming up with the questions to ask the judges, the jury will be able to consider various factors that will enable them to root out any biases during the trial process. Consequently, expansive voir dire makes use a large number of questions as compared to limited voir dire that relies on the use a limited number of the question during the process. Notably, the limited procedure uses close ended type of questions that only provide room for yes or no answers whereas, expansive methods uses a combination of close and open-ended questions which makes it possible for judges to express themselves more. Similarly, expansive voir dire questions individual juror as oppose to the limited type that functions on group questioning methods. Only the judge takes part in limited voir dire whereas the expansive voir dire requires that both the judges and the attorneys take part in the process (Hans & Jehle, 2003).
The article written by Hans and Jehle (2003) explains that limited voir dire is commonly used in many jurisdiction states. It is noted that, most states in America use the limited process of selecting jurors based on the fact that they use group questioning as opposed to individual in their processes (Hans & Jehle, 2003). They have many open and closed ended limited questions that deny the jurors the ability to express themselves and showcase their levels of understanding. Similarly, this process does not formulate pre-trial questionnaires and only the judge conducts the session.
In their findings, Hans and Jehle (2003) argue that voir dire is less effective in many jurisdictions in the United States. According to them, many lawyers do not rely on the examination of attitudes to investigate and eliminate lawyers who may be biased to the plaintiff and the defendants during the selection process. The authors state that the use of examining attitude is critical because attitude makes it possible for lawyers to notice any level of prejudice and biases during the election process of the juries. The article also states that voter ire is not effective because many attorneys who are concerned about possible biases by jurors rely on demographic characteristics and stereotypes which are less reliable in helping to unearth such issues during jutty selection process. It also states that most judges make decisions that might greatly affect defendants during trials. Such resolutions may also lead to poor decision making by the judges presiding over the cases in the court. Thus, the authors find that in general, the voir dire process used in most jurisdictions is ineffective (Hans & Jehle, 2003).
From a research perspective, expansive voir dire is more effective than limited voir dire. This is because expansive voir dire questions individual jurors making it possible for the lawyers and the attorneys to find out whether they understand the trial systems and understand their roles during court process (Hans & Jehle, 2003). Similarly, the ability of expansive voir dire to use a combination of closed and open-ended questions during the selection process makes it possible for the attorneys and lawyers to ascertain the levels of understanding of the judges. Closed-ended questions used in the limited procedure does not aid judges in ascertaining whether the jurors have adequate knowledge, skills, and experiences required during the court process. Expansive voir dire uses different questions that can help judges...
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