What to Know About Voir Dire and Panel Selection

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When you have been arraigned, there have been motions hearings, and the court has confirmed which evidence is allowed, the next step in your trial is panel selection. A panel is the military’s term for a jury. The panel is made up of eight servicemembers who have a rank at least as high was yours who are chosen from a pool selected by your court’s convening authority. While the number of people in the pool is generally 12-20 individuals, only eight will make up the panel. The process of choosing which eight are to make up the panel is known as voir dire. 

“To Speak the Truth”

The phrase voir dire is French for “to speak the truth” and the process involves those from the pool of potential panelists to answer questions to both the prosecutor and defense attorney concerning their background and beliefs, as well as what they know about the trial in question. The voir dire process is an extremely important part of the Ocase and should be prepared for like any other part of the trial. 

Prior to the voir dire process, your attorneys will receive answers to questionnaires from the prospective panelists. These questionnaires will have asked a variety of questions concerning their education, hobbies, marital histories, backgrounds, history of service, families, and more. By carefully examining each prospective panelist’s responses, an attorney can then establish questions to ask them that will better determine whether they would be open to your version of the events in question. 

Voir Dire Provides First Opportunity to Gain Trust

It’s equally important that your attorney act in a way that elicits trust from the prospective panelists, as this plays a role in how they will view your side of the story. For this reason, it’s imperative that your lawyer ask carefully thought-out questions in a trustworthy and friendly manner. Since eight of the prospective panelists will, in fact, become the panel, voir dire is the first opportunity for your side to earn the trust of those individuals as you head into the trial. When your attorney can do this, it will best set you up for success. 

The Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC Helps Military Members in Colorado Who Have Been Charged with a Crime

The U.S. Government has an interest in obtaining a conviction as soon as possible, as it does not wish to gain negative publicity about one of its service members. That is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced military attorney as soon as possible. If you are a military service member and have been charged with a crime under the UCMJ, the Court-Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC can help. We proudly serve our military members, who sacrifice so much for our country. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, contact us today!

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