Jury duty is one of the cornerstones of a free society.
Posted on behalf of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Aug 21, 2015 in Premises Liability
Excited for jury duty! Truly, a privilege.
The right to trial by jury is firmly enshrined in the Connecticut's Constitution.
Section 19 of article first of the Connecticut constitution, as amended by article fourth, provides in part that the “right to trial by jury shall remain inviolate. Seals v. Hickey, 186 Conn. 337, 350 (1982) (“Litigants have a constitutional right to have questions of fact decided by a jury".)
This right “is fundamental to the American scheme of justice…." Duncan v. Louisiana, 391 U.S. 145, 149 (1968).
Voir dire is the process by which prospective jurors are questioned about their life experiences, biases, prejudices, and preconceived notions which could make them unsuitable to try the case at hand.
We in Connecticut are fortunate to have a constitutional right to individual voir dire (the ability for each party's lawyer to speak with each prospective juror individually). [Connecticut Constitution, Article 1, Section 19 provides: “In all civil and criminal actions tried by a jury, the parties shall have the right to challenge jurors peremptorily, the number of such challenges to be established by law. The right to question each juror individually by counsel shall be inviolate".] The alternative is box voir dire in which the judge or the attorneys question a group of prospective jurors at once. It is not nearly as effective as individual voir dire at ferreting out biases and prejudices that would make a juror unsuitable for a given case.