Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 19.2. Criminal Procedure
Chapter 15. Trial and Its Incidents
9/27/2021

Article 4. Trial by Jury.

§ 19.2-260. Provisions of Title 8.01 apply except as provided in this article.

Except as otherwise provided in this article, trial by jury in criminal cases shall be regulated as provided for in Chapter 11 (§ 8.01-336 et seq.) of Title 8.01.

1975, c. 495; 1977, c. 624.

§ 19.2-261. Charging grand jury in presence of person selected as juror.

The court shall not charge the grand jury in the presence of any person selected as a juror to try any person indicted by the said grand jury. A violation of this provision shall constitute reversible error in any criminal case tried by a jury composed of one or more such veniremen.

Code 1950, § 8-208.20; 1973, c. 439; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-262. Waiver of jury trial; numbers of jurors in criminal cases; how jurors selected from panel.

A. In any criminal case in which trial by jury is dispensed with as provided by law, the whole matter of law and fact shall be heard and judgment given by the court. In appeals from juvenile and domestic relations district courts, the infant, through his guardian ad litem or counsel, may waive a jury.

B. Twelve persons from a panel of not less than 20 shall constitute a jury in a felony case. Seven persons from a panel of not less than 13 shall constitute a jury in a misdemeanor case.

C. The parties or their counsel, beginning with the attorney for the Commonwealth, shall alternately strike off one name from the panel until the number remaining shall be reduced to the number required for a jury.

D. In any case in which persons indicted for felony are tried jointly, if counsel or the accused are unable to agree on the full number to be stricken, or, if for any other reason counsel or the accused fail or refuse to strike off the full number of jurors allowed such party, the clerk shall place in a box ballots bearing the names of the jurors whose names have not been stricken and shall cause to be drawn from the box such number of ballots as may be necessary to complete the number of strikes allowed the party or parties failing or refusing to strike. Thereafter, if the opposing side is entitled to further strikes, they shall be made in the usual manner.

Code 1950, § 8-208.21; 1973, c. 439; 1974, c. 611; 1975, cc. 495, 578; 1979, c. 230; 1997, cc. 516, 518; 2005, c. 356.

§ 19.2-262.01. Voir dire examination of persons called as jurors.

In any criminal case, the court and counsel for either party shall have the right to examine under oath any person who is called as a juror therein and shall have the right to ask such person or juror directly any relevant question to ascertain whether the juror can sit impartially in either the guilt or sentencing phase of the case. Such questions may include whether the person or juror is related to either party, has any interest in the cause, has expressed or formed any opinion, or is sensible of any bias or prejudice therein. The court and counsel for either party may inform any such person or juror as to the potential range of punishment to ascertain if the person or juror can sit impartially in the sentencing phase of the case. The party objecting to any juror may introduce competent evidence in support of the objection, and if it appears to the court that the juror does not stand indifferent in the cause, another shall be drawn or called and placed in his stead for the trial of that case.

A juror, knowing anything relative to the fact in issue, shall disclose the same in open court.

2020, cc. 157, 588.

§ 19.2-262.1. Joinder of defendants.

On motion of the Commonwealth, for good cause shown, the court shall order persons charged with participating in contemporaneous and related acts or occurrences or in a series of acts or occurrences constituting an offense or offenses, to be tried jointly unless such joint trial would constitute prejudice to a defendant. If the court finds that a joint trial would constitute prejudice to a defendant, the court shall order severance as to that defendant or provide such other relief justice requires.

1993, cc. 462, 489; 1997, c. 518.

§ 19.2-263. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1993, cc. 462 and 489.

§ 19.2-263.1. Contact between judge and juror prohibited.

No judge shall communicate in any way with a juror in a criminal proceeding concerning the juror's conduct or any aspect of the case during the course of the trial outside the presence of the parties or their counsel.

1985, c. 176.

§ 19.2-263.2. Jury instructions.

A proposed jury instruction submitted by a party, which constitutes an accurate statement of the law applicable to the case, shall not be withheld from the jury solely for its nonconformance with model jury instructions.

1992, c. 522.

§ 19.2-263.3. Juror information confidential.

A. The court may, upon motion of either party or its own motion, and for good cause shown, issue an order regulating the disclosure of the name and home address of a juror who has been impaneled in a criminal trial to any person, other than to counsel for either party or a pro se defendant. For the purposes of this subsection, good cause shown includes, but is not limited to, a determination by the court that there is a likelihood of bribery, tampering, or physical injury to or harassment of a juror if his personal information is disclosed. An order regulating the disclosure of information may be modified, and the names and home addresses of the jurors in a criminal case may be disseminated to a person having a legitimate interest or need for the information, with restrictions upon its use and further dissemination as may be deemed appropriate by the court.

B. Additional personal information of a juror who has been impaneled in a criminal case shall be released only to the counsel for the defendant, a pro se defendant, and the attorney for the Commonwealth. The court may, upon motion of either party or its own motion, and for good cause shown, issue an order authorizing the disclosure of any additional personal information of a juror to any other person. Such order may be modified and may place restrictions on the use and further dissemination of such disclosed information.

C. In addition to the provisions of this section, the Supreme Court shall prescribe and publish rules that provide for the protection of the name, home address, and additional personal information of a juror in a criminal trial.

D. For purposes of this section, "additional personal information" means any information other than name and home address collected by the court, clerk, or jury commissioner at any time about a person who is selected to sit on a criminal jury and includes, but is not limited to, a juror's age, occupation, business address, telephone numbers, email addresses, and any other identifying information that would assist another in locating or contacting the juror.

2008, c. 538; 2017, c. 753.

§ 19.2-264. When jury need not be kept together in felony case; sufficient compliance with requirement that jury be kept together.

In any case of a felony the jury shall not be kept together unless the court otherwise directs. Whenever a jury is required to be kept together, it shall be deemed sufficient compliance although the court for good cause permits one or more of such jurors to be separated from the others; provided all such jurors, whether separated or not, be kept in charge of officers provided therefor.

Code 1950, §§ 8-208.31, 8-208.32; 1973, c. 439; 1975, c. 495.

§ 19.2-264.1. Views by juries.

The jury in any criminal case may, at the request of either the attorney for the Commonwealth or any defendant, be taken to view the premises or place in question, or any property, matter or thing relating to the case, when it shall appear to the court that such view is necessary to a just decision.

Code 1950, § 8-216; 1977, c. 624.