Venire is a legal term referring both to a writ ordering the assembly of a pool of prospective jurors, and to the pool of jurors itself. It is derived from a Latin word meaning “to assemble,” referencing the process of assembling potential members of a jury to determine if they will be suitable for a case. A closely related term, “venire de novo,” refers to a court order requesting the selection of a new group of prospective jurors for a repeat of a trial where there was a problem.
In the case of a legal writ, the venire is issued to request the selection of a pool of people for a trial. Jurors are usually selected through public records searches, with notices being sent out to people who are registered to vote or who hold drivers licenses, depending on how a region handles the process of juror recruitment. Some jurors respond to summons to disqualify themselves, while others are expected to show up in court on the appointed day to be questioned in a process known as voir dire. In voir dire, attorneys find suitable jurors for a case and then impanel a jury.
The venire in the sense of a pool of jurors includes everyone summoned by the writ. Many courthouses have a jury room where people wait when they arrive at the courthouse. The jurors must remain on call until they are called for voir dire or dismissed. Recognizing this civic duty as an imposition, courts provide compensation for missed work and also may offer things like wireless Internet at the courthouse so people have something to do while they wait.
In some cases, members of the juror pool may be screened before they are selected for voir dire. A juror questionnaire can be used to quickly rule out people who cannot serve on a case, such as people who know the parties involved. In nations where the death penalty is used, jurors may also be screened to create a death qualified venire, meaning that every person in the potential juror pool is comfortable with serving on a case where a guilty verdict can result in the death penalty.
Members of a venire are usually provided with directives to avoid discussing the case or seeking out information about it before voir dire. They are also typically asked to observe a dress code and some basic rules of conduct, including responding politely to questions, complying with orders from the judge or bailiffs, and using appropriate language in court.