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Definition of Voir Dire

Voir Dire literally means "to speak the truth." In terms of the court it is the process to examine and question possible jurors to determine their qualifications to serve on the jury. Under this process the court and each attorney are allowed to ask questions to prospective jurors. Questions can be oral or written. If either attorney believes a juror is not suitable they can dismiss the juror for cause if they believe the juror is biased, unsuitable to serve, has too much knowledge about the trial or cannot be impartial to the issues at hand. Each attorney also will have a number of peremptory challenges they can use to dismiss certain jurors without case.

The goal of the jury selection process is to sit a jury who is considered fair. Juries consist of fourteen individuals, which include 12 jurors and two alternates. Each attorney is attempting to use the voire dire process to seat a jury who may rule in favor of their client. At the end of the voire dire process hopefully there are 14 jurors who can listen to the evidence and rule fairly.

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