Karpuziv. Gallo, et. als, (A-4281-14T3), decided Mach 8,2017

By Michael Zerres

ln Karpuzi, the plaintiff appealed on the grounds that the Trial Court failed to ask at least three open ended question during jury selection according to the directive requirements of the AOC. (See Administrative Directive #4-O7ll. At trial, the Judge did not ask any open ended question because he believed the information to be elicited by them was covered by other questions. However, the Appellate Division held that its directive makes it clear that a Trial Judge cannot refuse to ask less than three open- ended question of each prospective juror. Although, the Trial Judge was within his discretion to reject plaintiffs proposed open ended question, it was an abuse of discretion not to ask anv other open ended question. Lastly, the Court held that the Trial Court’s failure to ask any open-ended questions was of such a nature as to have been clearly capable of producing an unjust result, and, therefore warranted a new trial.

Heredia v. Piccininni, et als, (A-57L4-L4T1), decided February L5,2OL7

ln Heredia, the Trial Judge declined to include any of plaintiff’s proposed open ended questions in the list of questions asked of potential jurors during voir dire. ln fact, the Trial Court did not ask any other open-ended questions. Plaintiff appealed. The Appellate Division held that a Trial Judge must ask open – ended question pursuant to the Administrative Directive and the Trial Court’s failure to do that was an abuse of discretion. Also, it was held that the voir dire was not sufficiently comprehensive to ensure an impartial jury, and, therefore, an omission of required open-ended question was a harmful error and warranted a new trial.