Ode to Voir Dire
Ode to Voir Dire
by Deputy Jim CrewsVoir Dire, Old French (via Latin) "to speak the truth": It is the jury selection process: "[Perspective jurors] are questioned by attorneys for each side and/or the trial judge about their background, life experiences, and opinions to determine whether they can weigh the evidence fairly and objectively."
The wall clock ticks on, a monotonous tone,
Only two jurors chosen and the morning is gone.
The cornerstone of Justice and Law we hold dear,
Is the onerous process that we know as voir dire.
The Judge's eyelids are heavy, his patience is thin,
He is anxious for the Finding of Fact to begin.
He sits in his chair and surveys his domain,
While the counselors squabble like Abel and Cain.
The Defense Counsel seeks jurors with tolerance high,
No conservatives, soldiers or cops need apply.
Opinions must be impartial and outlooks non-critical,
A plus is a sense of correctness political.
The prosecutor wants jurors who live by their code,
Who pay all their taxes and carry their load.
He seeks strong moral fiber and character true,
And it helps to slip in an ex-teamster or two.
The jurors, when questioned, defend their world views,
Their habits and opinions of the Six O'Clock News.
When responding to questions they consider each syllable,
In an effort to seem open-minded and liberal.
The Reporter records every word that is said,
And wonders if this record will ever be read,
By Appellate Courts, lawyers or reporter trainees,
Who get career information from ads on TV.
The Clerk sits next to His Honor and tries not to look bored,
And makes trips to the basement where jurors are stored.
She keeps the court ordered and running its best,
While trying not to think of the mess on her desk.
The Deputy, watchfully, observes the whole process,
And fights a quiet battle to remain upright and conscious.
He's not so concerned that the defendant gets loose,
But the fear he may snore like a stuffy-nosed moose.When I was on Jury Duty a few years ago this was given to the jurors in Hennepin County Courthouse as we awaited our turn. The courthouse people were cognizant of how boring it was just waiting around, and were friendly and tried hard in a mostly-successful attempt to keep us from wandering away. While the conservative bias of the writer is obvious, it captures much of the spirit of the occasion. I have no idea who the author is, and couldn't find him via Google or FB.