Should Prospective Jurors Indicated a Bias Against Guns Be Disqualified ?

In People v. Williams, 173 Ill. 2d 48, 218 Ill. Dec. 916, 670 N.E.2d 638 (1996), a prosecution for murder, a prospective juror indicated a bias against guns and their use and expressed doubts as to his ability to be fair and impartial. An examination of the entire voir dire of the prospective juror revealed that he believed that he "'would hear it out'" and that he would base his consideration of the case on the law and the evidence notwithstanding his notions regarding guns. Williams, 173 Ill. 2d at 66-67. A similar result was obtained in People v. Taylor, 166 Ill. 2d 414, 211 Ill. Dec. 518, 655 N.E.2d 901 (1995), where the prospective juror stated that the death penalty should be given in certain types of cases and that he could not imagine circumstances where it should not be given within these genres of cases. Taylor, 166 Ill. 2d at 419-420. After continued examination by the trial court and counsel, it was apparent that he would put aside his previously stated opinion and that any vote with respect to the death penalty would be predicated on the law and the evidence.