The NY Times article below highlights how invasive some juror questionnaires can be. Depending on the facts of the case, some jurors have been asked about abortion, adultery, drug use, race and political party affiliation.
Do you believe in an “eye for an eye”? What do your parents do for a living? Do you watch “CSI”? “Dateline”? Read PerezHilton.com? Have you ever undergone a medical procedure that required an anesthetic?
Welcome to jury service, where the seats are hard and the questionnaires increasingly long and nosy.
In a recently concluded federal racketeering trial in Brooklyn, potential jurors were asked what public figures they admired the most and the least. For a political corruption trial, they were asked to list their three favorite movies and what the bumper stickers on their cars said. For a current civil case concerning Israel, they were asked if they had “any feelings about Jews” that would make it difficult for them to serve.
Jury questionnaires have become a familiar presence in courtrooms across the United States, with some lawyers routinely requesting them in major cases — transforming the standard voir dire procedure into a written test.
“You can learn a lot from a questionnaire that you can’t learn in person,” said Daniel Gitner, a defense lawyer in Manhattan, noting that he preferred to use questionnaires. “You want to use a questionnaire anytime you have a real, considered view of what beliefs your jurors are coming to the courtroom with.”
Click here to take the juror test.