Improving Jury Selection Procedures
Trial courts should make available to attorneys a
written statement of the court’s standard practices for
jury selection. The court’s standard practices should
ensure that the parties have a full opportunity to
select a fair jury while avoiding undue and
unreasonable juror discomfort and embarrassment.
The judge should give prospective jurors a brief and
neutral description of the case after consulting with
the parties and before jury selection. The description
should be sufficiently detailed to assist jurors in
answering questions during jury selection and while
performing their duties. The judge should advise the
jury that the description represents the contentions of
the parties and does not imply the court’s view on the
merits of the case.
A party should raise any Batson objections to the
opposing party’s peremptory challenges before the jury
is impaneled. The court should exercise its
discretionary power to raise Batson objections on its
own motion. Batson challenges, and objections to these
challenges, should be handled outside the jurors’
Alternate jurors should be told that they are
alternates at the beginning of the trial.