St. Mary's Law Journal


The right to a trial by jury is meaningless without an effective voir dire. Recurring tort reform, rapid technological advancements, immediate access to media coverage of incidents that give rise to litigation have greatly expanded. Consequentially, courts are faced with the prospect that potential jurors’ opinions and attitudes have been tainted. In addition to these issues, trial courts display significant interest in promptly expediting the advancement of their dockets. Voir dire is an essential element of trial strategy. Voir dire allows counsel to establish rapport with potential jurors, introduce them to the issues and facts of the case, and identify the favorable and unfavorable jurors. Furthermore, voir dire allows attorneys to question prospective jurors in order to intelligently and effectually exercise peremptory challenges and challenges for cause. Additionally, Texas courts note that voir dire serves the legitimate purpose of indoctrinating the jury on the party’s view of the case. Restrictions on this right implicate a litigant’s ability to test the qualifications or fitness of jurors. Courts should not unduly place limitations on the time or scope of queries to a venire member. Therefore, the need for full and complete voir dire is critically important in today’s society.


St. Mary's University School of Law