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Thinking Outside the DWI Voir Dire Box
By J. Gary Trichter
Voir dire is the single most important part of a DWI jury trial. “Breath test” DWI prosecutions are more difficult to defend than “no test” cases. “Blood test” cases are even harder to defend. Accordingly, voir dire preparation in breath/blood test cases is more critical than in a case with no test.
It is here that the defense begins the task of undermining the prosecution’s evidence. It is here that exculpatory theories emerge, jurors begin to learn their proper role, and defense counsel starts making the potential jurors his witnesses and initiates the task of persuading them to vote “not guilty.”
No brilliant opening statement, outstanding cross-examination, or spectacular closing argument can make up for a “wrong thinking” jury. This is the reason that defense attorneys must always plan the voir dire so that their questions can teach and stimulate jurors not only to understand the jury trial right of the defendant, but also to think of and espouse exculpatory theories.
No jury can cor
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