New Voir Dire Changes in MA State Courts

Starting in early 2015, the Massachusetts State Courts will be changing their voir dire procedures.  Governor Duval Patrick signed a bill into lawG.L. ch. 234, sec. 28, that will allow attorneys to question jurors in their jury trials.  A portion of the new statute reads:

Upon motion of either party, the court shall, or the parties or their attorneys may under the direction of the court, examine on oath a person who is called as a juror therein, to learn whether he is related to either party or has any interest in the case, or has expressed or formed an opinion, or is sensible of any bias or prejudice, therein; and the objecting party may introduce other competent evidence in support of the objection.

A standing order, with additional clarifying details, may be released in January or February of next year.  It will be interesting to see how Superior Court trial practices will develop with this new rule.

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