Sacramento Car Accident Trial Presents Constitutional Issues, Part 2 of 3

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this car accident case and its proceedings.)

Scope of Requested Voir Dire

The scope of questioning has to accomplish the goal of a “fair and impartial jury” in this personal injury matter, which may involve numerous issues. Although CCP §222.5 permits the court to impose some limits, the statute specifically requires that the court take into account: any unique or complex elements, legal or factual, in the case and the individual responses or conduct of jurors which may evince attitudes inconsistent with suitability to serve as a fair and impartial juror in the particular case.

(California Code of Civil Procedure) section 222.5 grants counsel in a civil trial the right to conduct “oral examination of prospective jurors to enable them to exercise both peremptory and for cause” challenges. The scope of such examination may be restricted by the trial court within reasonable limits that allow counsel liberal and probing examination to discover bias and prejudice within the circumstances of each case. Bly-Magee v. Budget Rent-A-Car Corp. (1994) 24 Cal.App.4th 318, 324. For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

Time Restrictions
CCP §222.5 specifically prohibits arbitrary time limits: Specific unreasonable or arbitrary time limits shall not be imposed. In the past, some local and state court rules sought to impose time limits. However, this rule has long ago been withdrawn.

Time limits are impractical because it is impossible to determine before the trial exactly what subjects may suggest a juror’s inability to decide a case fairly or impartially.

It should be remembered that counsel are strangers to the prospective venire persons. It is difficult for jurors, in an unfamiliar place to describe to virtual strangers what closely held beliefs they may have. In fact, many jurors may not even recognize areas in which their mind is already made up. Thus, some degree of leeway must be allowed for voir dire. (See Part 3 of 3.)

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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