California, United States of America
The following excerpt is from People v. Mendoza, 24 Cal.4th 130, 6 P.3d 150, 99 Cal.Rptr.2d 485 (Cal. 2000):
Defense counsel's failure to object to these questions was not deficient performance, because the prosecutor's questions were within the bounds of proper voir dire. At the time of defendant's trial, permissible voir dire questions encompassed matters on which the population holds strong views that may affect deliberations, and included reasonable inquiries into specific prejudices as a basis for a challenge for cause. (People v. Noguera (1992) 4 Cal.4th 599, 645-646, 15 Cal. Rptr.2d 400, 842 P.2d 1160.)5 A question directed at obtaining knowledge as the basis for an exercise of a peremptory challenge, we said, was not objectionable "merely because of its additional tendency to indoctrinate or educate the jury." (People v. Williams (1981) 29 Cal.3d 392, 408, 174 Cal.Rptr. 317, 628 P.2d 869.) Here, the prosecution's questions concerning circumstantial evidence enabled it to learn whether prospective jurors could understand and draw inferences from such evidence; the questions regarding rape being an assaultive or sexually motivated crime and whether a rape of an elderly victim by a young man established mental illness
[99 Cal.Rptr.2d 510]addressed possible specific biases prospective jurors might harbor and were matters about which members of the population could have strong views that could affect jury deliberations.
[99 Cal.Rptr.2d 510]
The above passage should not be considered legal advice. Reliable answers to complex legal questions require comprehensive research memos. To learn more visit www.alexsei.com.