***Comments: In a real trial, the jury is selected by a process known as voir dire or jury selection.
Judge will explain the purpose of the voir dire and commence a short voir dire to select the jurors, excusing jurors as he/she sees fit, taking time to discuss peremptory v. “for cause” challenges.
Questions the judge may ask of the jury panel.
1. The court will instruct you about the law. Will you have difficulty following the law as given by the Court, disregarding any idea or notion you have about what the law is or should be?
2. Do you have any moral or religious reservations that might prevent you from sitting in judgment of another person?
3. The Defendant in this case is accused of vehicular manslaughter caused by texting while driving. Would this make it difficult for you to be a fair and impartial juror in this case?
4. Would you be able to put aside any feeling of sympathy or pity for the defendant when deciding the facts in this case?
5. Have you or has anyone close to you ever been involved in an automobile accident?
6. Have you or has anyone close to you ever been stopped by law enforcement officers for texting while driving?
7. Have you or has anyone close to you ever been arrested?
8. Have you or has anyone close to you ever worked in the legal profession or for a law enforcement agency?
9. All other factors being equal, would you be inclined to give the testimony of law enforcement witnesses more or less weight than that of non-law enforcement witnesses?
10. Have you ever been a witness in a case? If so, what kind of case?
11. Have you ever served on a jury before? If so,
a. Was it a criminal or civil case?
b. Were you able to reach a verdict?
12. Is there any reason why you could not be a fair juror in this case?
Judge: We are now ready to begin our trial. Will the parties state their appearances for the record?
[Each attorney will rise and say their true name. First, the prosecution team, then Defendant’s team.]
Prosecutor: Your Honor, I am Assistant United States Attorney ______________, for the United States. Your Honor, I am Assistant United States Attorney ______________, for the United States.
Defense Attorney: Your Honor, I am _______________ for the defendant Riley Gardner. Your Honor, I am _______________ for the defendant Riley Gardner.
Judge: The Courtroom Deputy will give the jury the oath.
Courtroom Deputy: Members of the jury, please rise and raise your right hands.
[jury stands up and each person raises their right hand]
Members of the jury, do you each solemnly swear that you will fairly try the case now before the court, and that you will render a true verdict according to the evidence?
Jurors (in unison): yes
Judge: Members of the jury, now that you have promised to be fair to the participants, I will give you some instructions. The job of being a juror is an important one. You must listen carefully to what each witness says. If the witnesses tell different stories, it is your job to decide what really happened. You must decide who to believe or not to believe. Do not form an opinion until you have heard all of the evidence. The defendant is presumed to be innocent. If you were to vote right now, you would have to find the defendant “not guilty” because we have not yet heard any evidence against him. You can only convict if you find that the government has proven its case “beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Counsel, you may now proceed with your opening statements.