In no kind of trial is it more difficult to get an impartial jury than in a child sex abuse trial. And lately, in Washington state, it has gotten worse. Recent Washington cases have made trial judges skittish about using juror questionnaires and closed, individual voir dire—the most effective devices for unearthing bias in potential jurors.
In a lead article in the Washington State Bar News, “The New Challenge to Empaneling an Impartial Jury in Sensitive Cases,” David Marshall analyzes the recent cases. His analysis shows they do not, in fact, mean judges must forego juror questionnaires and closed, individual voir dire. Judges, take courage!