With a break in jury selection Friday in the perjury trial of Roger Clemens, we thought you might enjoy reading the 82-item questionnaire presented to prospective jurors this week.
Starting with a question about whether potential jurors “know anything about this case” or have read anything about it in the news media, the questionnaire is exhaustive to say the least.
It asks whether potential jurors know any of the lawyers for the government or defense or have ever heard of Roger Clemens. It even asks whether if anyone “feels that a defendant should have to prove his innocence.” In the U.S. court system, all defendants are innocent until proven guilty.
Questions 22 through 26 ask whether prospective jurors played sports or know any professional athletes. The questions, read to jurors by U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, were the products of suggestions by federal prosecutors and defense lawyers.
So far, 18 jurors have been selected to be part of a final pool of 36 from which the final 12 jurors and four alternates will be drawn.
The process of jury selection is known as ”voir dire” — from the French for “to speak the truth” — and is designed to ensure that jurors have no biases and can fairly evaluate evidence in a case.
Walton, who presided over the high-profile trial of I. “Scooter” Libby, has a reputation in the District’s federal courthouse for being exceedingly thorough in the “voir dire” process.