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Right To Perform Background Checks

The trial lawyer has a right to perform a background check on all prospective jurors. Florida case law used to require that the background check be performed before the jury was sworn, but that is no longer true, although the Court should allow time for such a procedure before the jury is sworn.. “Where possible, trial judges should allow counsel to check [public] records, if such a request is made, and it can be done without unwarranted delay. Certainly a small delay at the beginning of a trial would be better than having to do a retrial of a case after it has been concluded.” Roberts v. Tejada, 814 So2d 334 (Fla 2002) at 345.

All counsel in the case should consider jointly asking the court to enter an order allowing the parties access to the juror pool information regarding the panel members’ names, addresses, driver’s license numbers and dates of birth. This was done post-trial in Roberts, and there is no reason this procedure should be permitted during voir dire in order to facilitate the process of checking public records and other databases. See Roberts at 337.