Should Connecticut Change How It Selects Juries? | Connecticut Public Radio
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Should Connecticut Change How It Selects Juries?

Feb 22, 2011

Until recently, I didn't understand the degree to which Connecticut jury selection process -- called the voir dire -- differs from those of other states.

Connecticut grants -- as a standard practice -- the right of each side to question each prospective juror while the others are sequestered. I just assumed that's how they did it everywhere else. In fact, there are states in which lawyers can seek, for special reasons, to handle jury selection that way, but no other states where that's the default setting.

We are the slowest state for jury selection and we are twice as slow as the next slowest state in felony cases and four times as slow as the next slowest state in civil cases. In Texas, they probably try, convict and execute defendants in the time it takes us to empanel half a jury. To know whether our system "works better," you'd have to be able to measure fairness.

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