Voir dire is ostensibly for choosing an objective, impartial jury—but nothing could be further from the truth. An attorney’s duty to her client is to pick a jury that is sympathetic to the client’s cause. Objective jurors are the rare exception, not the rule. In addition to selecting a sympathetic jury, a secondary purpose of voir dire is to obtain the trust and confidence of the jury by endearing yourself and exhibiting impartiality and objectivity to the jury.
This article describes the goals of voir dire, which should include laying predicates to excuse jurors for cause, finding jurors who are not favorable to your side and should be removed through peremptory challenge, building juror confidence in commonality between their feelings and the standards that support your case and your client, and learning about jurors’ belief systems in order to mold your presentation to persuade them that your cause is aligned with those beliefs.
To the extent that the court restricts voir dire, the goals may not all be attainable. However, counsel must prioritize based on the needs of the case and the time allotted.