Jury selection refers to a procedure employed to choose the people from among the community using a reasonably random method to serve on a trial jury. The circuit court may direct the authority charged by law with the selection of prospective jurors to furnish each prospective juror with a questionnaire in the form approved by the Supreme Court from time to time to assist the authority in selecting prospective jurors. To assist in voir dire examination at trial, any court may direct the clerk to furnish prospective jurors selected for service with a questionnaire in the form approved by the Supreme Court from time to time. The parties have the right to examine jurors orally on their voir dire.[i]
One may challenge the selection of a juror for one of the folowing reasons:
- If any of the parties to the dispute is related to the juror;
- If any person selected for jury duty is not from a jury list lawfully selected; or
- When the nature of any civil action requires a specific knowledge to enable a juror to understand the evidence to be offered, and if the prospective juror does not possess the required qualifications.
All challenges are addressed to the court outside the hearing of the jury in a manner selected by the court so that the jury panel is not aware of the nature of the challenge. No one is sworn as a juror until the parties have accepted the jury or until all challenges are exhausted.
The court may direct that one or two jurors be impaneled to sit as alternate jurors in addition to the regular panel. Alternate jurors may replace jurors who have become unable or disqualified to perform their duties before the jury retires to consider its verdict[ii].
[i] Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.431 (2009)
[ii] Fla. R. Civ. P. 1.431 (2009)