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Jury Selection, Nondisclosure

One of the most important parts of a jury trial is voire dire (i.e., jury selection). The purpose of jury selection is to ensure that the jury that hears and decides the case is fair and impartial. To meet this objective, the Court and attorneys question jurors and have the ability to remove potential jurors who cannot be fair or impartial.

What happens if a prospective juror is asked a question and does not disclose an answer which would have disqualified him/her? Such non-disclosure may require that a new trial be conducted. Legally, evaluation of a non-disclosure claim and whether it requires a new trial involves two steps. First, it must be shown that the question posed to the individual juror or jury was sufficiently clear. Second, assuming the question was clear, the next step is to determine whether the non-disclosure was intentional. If the answer to both of these questions is “yes,” then there is a presumption of prejudice that cuts in favor of a new trial and the reveral of any verdict given by the jury.