The main purpose of voir dire is to provide a neutral jury for trial. This is accomplished by the preliminary examination of jurors in order to remove those jurors who have biases that would render unfair verdicts or jurors who do not meet the statutory requirements. Once these prejudices are discovered, the attorneys on both sides may make strikes for cause and/or peremptory strikes.
First the potential jurors must statutorily qualify to be on a jury. Those requirements are the juror must be: never been convicted of a felony or have a pending felony conviction, be able to speak english, lived within the judicial district for at least one year, and be at least 18 years of age.
In addition potential jurors may be challenged for cause, that arises when the juror possesses unfair prejudices against on of the parties, personally acquainted with the controversies in the case, related to the parties of the action, or has close financial or personal relationship with one of the parties. It is the burden of the party asserting that the juror has one of these impermissible traits to remove the potential juror. Any potential juror removed due to cause does not count towards that party’s peremptory challenges.
On the other hand, each party also has the ability to remove a limited amount of panelist without reason by way of peremptory challenges as long the panelist is not removed due to race, ethnicity or gender. In a civil case each party has three peremptory challenges.
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