The Champion

July 2009 , Page 44 

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This Time, With Feeling: The In the Moment Approach to Selecting a Jury

By Fredilyn Sison

When viewers watch courtroom scenes on TV or at the movies, rarely do they see a scene in which a lawyer selects a jury. They typically see opening statements, closing arguments, and the favorite of criminal defense lawyers, cross-examinations. Perhaps it is because voir dire does not lend itself to the high drama that openings, closings, and crosses do. It does not show off the oratorical skills, the persuasiveness, or the cleverness of the attorney. Most likely, it is because of the way students have been taught to do it in law school, with no action, no flair, and no drama — in a word, dull.

The Traditional Method of Voir Dire

The purpose of the traditional method of jury selection is to ferret out the jurors that are least likely to be favorable to the case. It is a method of exclusion, not inclusion. Lawyers learned the traditional method in the few trial advocacy classes they had in law school or from one of the many books that lists the questions to ask potential jurors in any pa

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