Topic: Time Limits

Reversible Error to Impose Time Limits on Voir Dire

Last week the Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed an aggravated battery conviction based on a trial court improperly limiting the amount of time an attorney could ask questions to a prospective jury panel.  Strachan v. State, ___ So. 3d ___ (Fla. 4th DCA 2019). In Strachan, the trial court entered a scheduling order before trial limiting voir dire to forty-five minutes per side, noting if either side needed additional […]

October 7, 2019

Trial Judge Reversed Due to Arbitrary Time Limits on Jury Selection

A first-degree murder conviction was reversed last month due to the trial court imposing arbitrary time limits during jury selection. In Hopkins v. State, 2017 WL 2983284 (Fla. 4th DCA, July 12, 2017), the trial court advised counsel, for the first time at the beginning of trial, that each side would be limited to three hours for voir dire to question the venire of fifty jurors. This equated to approximately […]

August 17, 2017

Trial Court Must Give Reasonable Notice of Time Limits

Both sides in a criminal case had questioned prospective jurors for “about an hour.” The trial judge then called the defendant to the bench and asked if he had any new questions, and the defendant said he had “plenty.” The trial judge responded, “No you don’t have plenty of new questions. You see the time? You’ve got about ten minutes.” The judge suggested he use his time wisely. After the defendant […]

September 26, 2006