April 25, 1980
|FROM:||M. Eve Moredock, Staff Attorney
|RE:||Voir Dire Examination of Jurors in Magistrate's Court|
The Office of the Attorney General has recently issued 1980 Op. Atty Gen. No. 80-32, regarding the necessity of requiring the entire jury venire to appear for voir dire examination prior to exercise or peremptory challenges (challenges without cause) or challenges for cause. In summary, the opinion states that a party does not have the right to have the entire jury venire examined on its voir dire. However, a party does have the right to examine on their voir dire the jurors ultimately selected to consider a case.
The voir dire examination of jurors is conducted at the request of either party, for the purpose of determining whether any potential juror has an undisclosed interest or bias in the case to be heard. Should any such bias or interest become apparent, a party can enter an objection for cause to that juror. The juror should then be disqualified from hearing that case.
Chapter 2 of Title 22 of the S.C. Code Ann. provides for jury selection procedure in magistrate's courts. These provisions should be studied carefully each time a jury is to be drawn for a jury trial.
If you have any questions regarding the effect of this Attorney General's opinion, please contact this office.