In a trial involving drug charges During voir dire a juror volunteered the statement “I believe criminalizing drugs is morally wrong and will never convict someone of drug crimes.”

Is this contempt of court?

What if a lawyer asked “is there a reason you would be biased in this case about a drug dealer?” Does this change the answer.

Assume all charges are non-violent drug related charges.

2 Answers 2


Contempt of court is when you refuse to do what the court (judge) orders you to do. Actually, you have been instructed by the judge to answer questions truthfully, so if asked, you are supposed to state your beliefs. Volunteering an unwillingness to apply the law as instructed is always an option, and will get you excused from that jury for cause.

  • 3
    Well, if you tell the judge to go f&#k themselves that will too be contempt of court, even though the judge did not give any orders in relation to (not) saying that.
    – Greendrake
    Commented May 2, 2022 at 2:11

No. It will get you kicked off the jury if the judge believes that your answer is sincere, but it does not constitute contempt of court. In voir dire, you have not yet been sworn to apply the law as instructed.

On the other hand, in the rare case where the judge doesn't believe you and there is strong evidence that you are lying, you could be held in contempt of court for lying in voir dire, even though you probably still wouldn't be seated as a juror.

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