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Fr.: to speak the truth.

1. A VOIR DIRE EXAMINATION by the court or by the attorneys of prospective jurors is to determine their qualification for jury service, to determine if there is cause to challenge (i.e., to excuse) particular jurors, and to provide information about the jurors so that the parties can exercise their statutory peremptory challenges (objections to particular jurors without need to state cause).
EXAMPLE: A doctor is on trial for performing an abortion. In a voir dire examination of potential jurors by counsel or the court, it is revealed that a prospective juror has strong religious beliefs concerning abortions that would bias any possibility of a fair and independent judgment. That juror will most likely not be used at the doctor’s trial.
2. A voir dire examination during the trial refers to a hearing by the court out of the presence of the jury upon some issue of fact or law that requires an initial determination by the court or upon which the court must rule as a matter of law alone.
Source: Barron's Dictionary of Legal Terms, Steven H. Gifis, 5th Edition; ©
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