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Individual voir dire



Peter Lattman reports:

[Joe Nacchio's attorney Herb] Stern had asked the judge for permission to question individual jurors, a process called �individual voir dire.� The government asked the court to reject Stern�s request. Stern is the author of an eight-volume treatise, �Trying Cases to Win.� Wrote the government:
There are excellent reasons for not allowing counsel to conduct individual voir dire, as it is a well established technique for coloring jurors� views about the case. See, e.g., Herbert Stern, Trying Cases to Win: Voir Dire and Opening Argument, at 473 (1991 ed.) (explaining that one of the purposes of the voir dire is �to color jurors� views about the case, to inoculate them against your difficulties, to enlist them with your strengths,� and observing that this practice �is universally condemned in law books as illegitimate even as it is universally practiced in the law courts�); id. at 504 (suggesting that in voir dire, the lawyer should �advocate your cause and begin to influence the panel�). Accordingly, the government submits that no forthwith hearing is necessary.

(A "forthwith hearing" is a strange Colorado-specific turn-of-phrase for a hearing not in the ordinary course. I'll leave the etymology to others.)

 

 


Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.