Illinois attorneys, judges vie to conduct voir dire.Proposed changes to Illinois Supreme Court rules could expand the rights of trial attorneys to question jurors during voir dire voir dire
(Anglo-French; “to speak the truth”)
In law, the act or process of questioning prospective jurors to determine whether they are qualified and suitable for service on a jury. . Public hearings on a proposed rule change have concluded, and the state rules committee has passed it on to the Illinois Supreme Court for final determination.
During the hearings, members of the Illinois Trial Lawyers Association (ITLA ITLA Illinois Trial Lawyers Association
ITLA Instituto Tecnológico de las Américas (Spanish; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic)
ITLA International Texas Longhorn Association
iTLA Integrated Tunable Laser Assembly ) strongly supported the change, but it was generally opposed by judges who expressed fears that attorney voir dire would lengthen length·en
tr. & intr.v. length·ened, length·en·ing, length·ens
To make or become longer.
lengthen·er n. the trial process.
"The reason why judges are doing voir dire is simply economy," said attorney Laird laird
The owner of a landed estate.
[Scots, from Middle English lard, variant of lord, owner, master; see lord. Ozmon of Joliet, Illinois The city of Joliet is located 40 miles southwest of Chicago. It holds the county seat of Will County and is also incorporated in Kendall County. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 106,221. . 'When litigants have waited years to get to court, the extra day it may take to pick a fair and impartial jury does not justify the exercise of judicial economy. I don't think anyone is saying that judges are able to do it better than attorneys."
During the debate over who should question jurors, the trial attorneys found they had several allies. For example, representatives from both the Cook County public defender's office and the state attorney's office supported attorney voir dire.
Public defender public defender, governmental official who represents indigent persons accused of crime. U.S. Supreme Court decisions expanding the right to counsel to pretrial proceedings and holding that a person cannot be sentenced to even one day in jail unless a lawyer was Gregory O'Reilly said that lawyers were more likely to elicit useful information, because jurors did not perceive them as authority figures, as they do robed judges. (M.S. Stapleton, Judges, Lawyers at Odds over Possible Changes in Voir Dire, Chi. Daily L.B., Jan. 28, 1997, at 3.)
Ozmon, president-elect of ITLA, pointed out that it is the attorney who is most knowledgeable about the nuances of the case and is able to discern whether or not certain activities or past experiences of jurors will indicate bias.
"The judge is not aware of what evidence is going to come in during the case. Not knowing that, he may be blind to areas of questioning that may uncover blatant predisposition predisposition /pre·dis·po·si·tion/ (-dis-po-zish´un) a latent susceptibility to disease that may be activated under certain conditions.
1. ," Ozmon said.
"The judges use a recipe, a preprogrammed set of questions designed to fit every case," he said. "But just as you can't try every case the same way, you can't pick jurors for every case in a preprogrammed manner. It is the followup to a juror's answers by a skilled trial lawyer that enables us to find out what a potential juror juror n. any person who actually serves on a jury. Lists of potential jurors are chosen from various sources such as registered voters, automobile registration or telephone directories. is really thinking."
Among other proposed changes sent to the state supreme court for consideration were rules tightening control over disclosure of expert opinion and allowing questions from jurors during trials. The supreme court has not set a date for making a final decision.