Dateline: February, 2008, Issue 2

Which best educates jurors about due process rights - voir dire questions or judicial instructions?

Jurors learn by listening in voir dire. The questions attorneys ask and the answers other jurors provide can educate jurors about due process rights.

Middendorf and Luginbuhl (1995) explored whether jurors learned more about due process rights by a judge explaining those legal guarantees or an attorney asking other jurors about those rights in voir dire.

Jurors who heard other jurors asked questions in voir dire about due process rights were more familiar with and more accepting of these legal guarantees than jurors who only heard the judge explain these rights to them.

Listening to voir dire educated jurors about the law more than hearing the judge explain the law.

Source Middendorf, K. & Luginbuhl, J. (1995). The value of a nondirective voir dire style in jury selection. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 22, pp. 129-151.