Dateline: March, 2007, Issue 4

Which type of voir dire best identifies biased jurors?

Voir dire is used to identify jurors that cannot be fair and impartial in a particular case, and can be conducted with the entire jury pool present, or with jurors brought in one-by-one.

Urbszat (2005) recently conducted three studies examining the effectiveness of voir dire in identifying jurors with bias or prejudice in a case. The challenge for cause was found to be ineffective in identifying and rejecting biased jurors. In addition, when the jury pool remains inside the court during voir dire, jury pool members were less likely to admit being prejudiced, and less overall rejections occurred. Individual voir dire, conducted outside the presence of other jurors, increased admissions of prejudice.

The researcher concluded that the presence or absence of the jury pool during the challenge for cause is an influential variable on the admission of prejudice.

Source Urbszat, D. (2005). The challenge for cause: Does it reduce bias in the jury system? Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering, 65, p. 5464.