Voir Dire with the Walker County DA

This past Wednesday, the LEAP Ambassadors hosted the District Attorney’s office, which sponsored a simulated voir dire, to help students better understand the jury selection process. Speaking to student participants from diverse majors, attorneys Stuart Hughes, Malori Martin, Phil Faselar, Taylor Carter helped the students understand the entire jury selection process. With this demonstration and the attorneys’ recaps, were able to see firsthand how voir dire factors into the trial process.


We acted as a group of potential jurors three separate times, each time learning a different attorney’s approach and method of getting to know a jury. An attorney’s job during this time is to find the type of juror they want to serve during the trial by asking broad questions that are relevant to the case. Members took on different personas and, to the full extent of their abilities, tried to answer questions as 56-year-old school district employees, 28-year-old graduate employees, and 45-year-old gas station cashiers–biographies provided to them by the LEAP Center. Members enjoyed the challenge of thinking on their feet and answering questions in character.

After the final voir dire, PLS members were able to ask questions about law school, learn about the different positions our guests held throughout their careers, and inquire about internships. Overall, it was an eye-opening experience for everyone involved. We saw a more in-depth view of the trial process and were able to offer a practice opportunity for the DA’s office coming out of a post Covid-19 world. Thank you to the Walker County District Attorney Office for coming to Sam Houston State University and teaching us about the voir dire process.

Author: mikeyawn

Mike Yawn teaches at Sam Houston State University. In the past few years, he has taught courses on Politics & Film, Public Policy, the Presidency, Media & Politics, Congress, Statistics, Research & Writing, Field Research, and Public Opinion. He has published academic papers in the Journal of Politics, Political Behavior, Social Security Quarterly, Film & History, American Politics Review, and contributed a chapter to the textbook Politics and Film. He also contributes columns, news analysis, and news stories to newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express News, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Stamford Advocate, Greenwich Time, Huron Daily Tribune, Laredo Morning Times, Beaumont Enterprise, Connecticut Post, and Midland Reporter Telegram. Yawn is also active in his local community, serving on the board of directors of the local YMCA and Friends of the Wynne. Previously, he served on the Huntsville's Promise and Stan Musial World Series Boards of Directors. In 2007-2008, Yawn was one of eight scholars across the nation named as a Carnegie Civic Engagement Scholar by the Carnegie Foundation.

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