© D.L. Crumbley
The concept of voir dire- the questioning and selection of jurors has undergone a sea of change in California since the passage in June 1991of Proposition 115. Before that time attorneys on both sides of a case were given a wide latitude in questions they could ask prospective jurors. What did they do for a living? How many brothers and sisters did they have? What are their hobbies? Favorite books and/or movies? Feelings about puppies? Cats? Gold-fish? Almost anything went if it might serve to bring out a prospective juror’s character. Often the questions were thinly disguised speeches designed to sway prospective jurors. And because of this, jury selection in a capital case such as this one could easily take as long as two months and in some cases longer.