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231 Pa. Code Rule 220.3. Voir Dire.

Rule 220.3. Voir Dire.

 (a)  Upon completion of the oath, the judge shall instruct the prospective jurors upon their duties and restrictions while serving as jurors, and of any sanctions for violation of those duties and restrictions, including those in Rules 220.1 and 220.2.

 (b)  Voir dire shall be conducted to provide the opportunity to obtain at a minimum a full description of the following information, where relevant, concerning the prospective jurors and their households:

   (1)  Name;

   (2)  Date and place of birth;

   (3)  Residential neighborhood and zip code (not street address);

   (4)  Marital status;

   (5)  Nature and extent of education;

   (6)  Number and ages of children;

   (7)  Name, age and relationship of members of prospective juror’s household;

   (8)  Occupation and employment history of the prospective juror, the juror’s spouse and children and members of the juror’s household;

   (9)  Involvement as a party or a witness in a civil lawsuit or a criminal case;

   (10)  Relationship, friendship or association with a law enforcement officer, a lawyer or any person affiliated with the courts of any judicial district;

   (11)  Relationship of the prospective juror or any member of the prospective juror’s immediate family to the insurance industry, including employee, claims adjustor, investigator, agent, or stockholder in an insurance company;

   (12)  Motor vehicle operation and licensure;

   (13)  Physical or mental condition affecting ability to serve on a jury;

   (14)  Reasons the prospective juror believes he or she cannot or should not serve as a juror;

   (15)  Relationship, friendship or association with the parties, the attorneys and prospective witnesses of the particular case to be heard;

   (16)  Ability to refrain from using a computer, cellular telephone or other electronic device with communication capabilities in violation of the provisions of Rule 220.1; and

   (17)  Such other pertinent information as may be appropriate to the particular case to achieve a competent, fair and impartial jury.

   Official Note

   For example, under presently prevailing law as established by the Superior Court, voir dire should have been allowed with respect to the effect of pre-trial publicity on prospective jurors’ ‘‘attitudes regarding medical malpractice and tort reform.’’ Capoferri v. Children’s Hosp. of Phila., 893 A.2d 133 (Pa. Super. 2006) (en banc).

 (c)  The court may provide for voir dire to include the use of a written questionnaire. However, the use of a written questionnaire without the opportunity for oral examination by the court or counsel is not a sufficient voir dire.

   Official Note

   The parties or their attorneys may conduct the examination of the prospective jurors unless the court itself conducts the examination or otherwise directs that the examination be conducted by a court employee. Any dispute shall be resolved by the court.

   A written questionnaire may be used to facilitate and expedite the voir dire examination by providing the trial judge and attorneys with basic background information about the jurors, thereby eliminating the need for many commonly asked questions.

 (d)  The court may permit all or part of the examination of a juror out of the presence of other jurors.


   The provisions of this Rule 220.1 adopted September 15, 1993, effective January 1, 1994, 23 Pa.B. 4635; amended August 11, 1997, effective December 1, 1997, 27 Pa.B. 4426; amended March 11, 2008, effective June 1, 2008, 38 Pa.B. 1349; renumbered Rule 220.3 and amended July 7, 2015, effective October 1, 2015, 45 Pa.B. 3976. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (311796) and (360257).

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