“Voir Dire” Jury Selection
Voir dire is a French phrase meaning to observe and listen. Jury Selection is a chess game of determining who will be the best juror that will be entirely impartial, fair and open minded to the evidence. Voir dire is an opportunity to begin the story of the case through the phrasing of the questions.
The key to a successful Voir dire and Jury Selections is preparation. What are the strength and weaknesses of the case? What facts may cause a negative response, criticism, prejudice or bias?
Eye contact + active listening + acknowledgment of the juror’s response will create a connection and begin to develop your credibility.
The process of interviewing potential jurors also involves paying attention to the jurors’ body language, facial expressions (micro-expressions), phrasing, attitude and tone. The key is to be aware of the timing of these cues. Every thought has three readable reactions.
Notice if a jurors shifts in their chart before answering a question or makes specific gestures that will indicated if they are being truthful or choosing to answer a question with a minimal response and poor eye contact. Eyes that look to the right or straight across while answering a question usually indicates a creative thought process. Eyes that look up to the left or straight across indicate they are going in to a memory. Body language and the facial expression are difficult to control because they are triggers by our thoughts. You may say one thing, but your body and face won’t lie.
Jurors will tell their stories revealing beliefs, opinions, bias, prejudices and convictions. These feelings are often preconceived subconsciously through family, peers, fellow workers, society, church community and religious conformity.
They are numerous responses to pay attention to in order to get as much information necessary to make a good decision on whether to accept them as a juror or use a peremptory.
Note: If you are interested in reading gestures and body language read “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell, “Micro Expressions” by Paul Ekman