As a lawyer who is licensed to practice in several states, one question that I initially asked is: “why does the jury selection process in the North Carolina state courts take so long?” The answer lies in the jury questioning and selecting methods used in North Carolina.
THERE ARE 3 MAIN METHODS USED TODAY TO QUESTION POTENTIAL JURORS. (The questioning process is called voir dire).
1. Lawyer Examination (SLOW)
Traditionally the lawyers ask most of the questions to the potential jurors. The judge, following his or her initial remarks and instructions to the jury, simply turns the questioning over to the lawyers and merely rules on objections made during the questioning.
2. Judge Examination (FAST)
The trend in recent years (and the process most commonly used in the federal courts) has been for the judge to ask most of the questions to the potential jurors. The lawyers can merely request in advance that the judge ask certain questions.
3. Hybrid System (MEDIUM)
The third method is a hybrid of the first two. The judge asks preliminary questions of law and determines whether any potential jurors have and biases, etc. that should prevent them from serving. The lawyers then ask additional questions to the potential jurors.