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Jessica Dennis v. Town of Loudon

September 24, 2012

JESSICA DENNIS
v.
TOWN OF LOUDON, ET AL.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joseph N. Laplante United States District Judge

ORDER ON JURY SELECTION Jury selection in the above-captioned matter will be conducted under the "struck" method. See 28 U.S.C. § 1861 et seq.; Fed. R. Civ. P. 47, 48, 49; L.R. 47.2, 47.3, 48. It will be conducted as follows:

1. Size of jury: Twelve jurors (and no alternates) will be seated. Barring excusal pursuant to Rule 47(c), all jurors shall participate in the verdict. The verdict shall be unanimous and no verdict shall be taken from the jury if its number is reduced to fewer than six members unless the parties agree otherwise subject to court approval.

2. Standard voir dire: Once the jury venire is seated in the courtroom, the court will briefly describe the case, have counsel introduce themselves and their clients, read the names of potential witnesses, and ask the court's "standard" voir dire questions as may be supplemented upon request of the parties.

3. Random selection and initial excusals for cause: During the court's voir dire, the deputy clerk will be randomly drawing 21 jurors. Upon completion of the voir dire, the deputy clerk will announce the names of all 21 jurors who will come in order and take a seat in the jury box. The jury clerk will be checking with each juror to see who needs to speak with the judge or who answered "yes" to any of the questions. The first juror with a question will approach side bar for examination by the court, counsel, and potential challenge for cause by counsel. If the juror is found qualified (that is, not excused for cause), the juror will resume their seat in the jury box. If the juror is excused for cause, the deputy clerk will then draw another name from the box. That juror will be asked whether or not they need to speak with the judge. If so, that juror will approach side bar. If not, that juror will fill the empty seat in the jury box. This process will continue until there are 21 qualified jurors.

4. Attorney voir dire: Counsel will be permitted to conduct appropriate voir dire of the seated jurors. Each party will be limited to a total of 15 minutes of voir dire questioning. The court will keep track of the elapsed time from the bench.

5. Additional challenges for cause: After counsel have completed voir dire of the seated jurors, they will have the opportunity to request excusals for cause at the bench. Another juror's name will be drawn randomly to replace any juror excused for cause. The replacement juror(s) will be questioned by the court as to "yes" responses to the original, general voir dire, and if found qualified, will replace the excused juror(s). Counsel will be allowed to utilize unused voir dire time to conduct voir dire of the replacement juror(s) only.

6. Peremptory challenges: After all requests for excusal for cause have been addressed, counsel may then exercise their peremptory challenges against the qualified panel. Plaintiff is entitled to three peremptory challenges, and defendants are entitled to three peremptory challenges each.

7. After the peremptory challenges, the Deputy Clerk will empanel the necessary number of jurors, in this case, twelve, and will excuse the remainder of the jury venire.

SO ORDERED.

cc:

20120924

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