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What is the purpose of a jury questionnaire form?

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The purpose of a jury questionnaire is to select an unbiased jury by gathering information for further questioning and peremptory challenges, according to attorney Melinda K. Bowen for DRIToday. A jury questionnaire can also convey information to prospective jurors about what issues are critical to the case.

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Attorneys use information gathered from a jury questionnaire to pinpoint areas where prospective jurors may be predisposed to support or reject their arguments, states Bowen. Through a questionnaire, lawyers can find out each juror's situation, involvement with the legal system, case-related experiences, familiarity with witnesses, involved parties and lawyers, and knowledge of the case. They also learn about jurors' opinions, biases and attitudes. Attorneys then formulate additional questions that highlight the biases of the jurors they might want to strike or the opposing counsel might want to strike.

The main value of the jury questionnaire is it allows attorneys to better predict the reactions of each potential juror to the evidence presented, explains Bowen. Counsels for both the defense and the plaintiff fear a stealth juror might influence the others. The jury questionnaire helps to prevent this situation. It also gives an early warning of jurors who are trying to get out of jury duty. Both sides scrutinize the questionnaires to see if anyone inserts deliberate bias in the answers.

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