Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 8.01. Civil Remedies and Procedure
Chapter 11. Juries
1/25/2022

Article 3. Selection of Jurors.

§ 8.01-343. Appointment of jury commissioners.

The judge of each circuit court in which juries are impaneled shall, prior to the first day of July in each year, appoint for the next ensuing year ending on the following first day of July not less than two nor more than 15 persons as jury commissioners, who shall be competent to serve as jurors under the provisions of this chapter, and shall be citizens of intelligence, morality, and integrity. The judge of the circuit court of a county having the urban county executive form of government may appoint jury commissioners at any time prior to the first day of November in each year. Any one judge of the judicial circuit may make such appointment under this section. No practicing attorney-at-law, however, shall be appointed as a jury commissioner. Such appointment shall be certified by the judge to the clerk of the court for which the appointment is made, who shall enter the same on the civil order book of such court. A jury commissioner shall be eligible for reappointment. For the purpose of this section, the two divisions of the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond shall be deemed to be separate courts.

Code 1950, § 8-208.8; 1973, c. 439; 1977, c. 617; 1979, c. 269; 1996, c. 332; 1999, c. 221; 2000, c. 251; 2006, c. 306; 2009, c. 790; 2016, c. 177.

§ 8.01-344. Notification of jury commissioners; their oath.

Such commissioners shall be immediately notified of their appointment by the clerk, and before entering upon the discharge of their duties shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation before the clerk of such court in the following form: "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will honestly, without favor or prejudice, perform the duties of jury commissioner during the year; that in selecting persons to be drawn as jurors, I will not select any person I believe to be disqualified or exempt from serving as a juror; that I will select none whom I have been requested to select; and that in all my selections I will endeavor to promote only the impartial administration of justice."

Code 1950, § 8-208.9; 1973, c. 439; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-345. Lists of qualified persons to be prepared by jury commissioners; random selection process.

The commissioners shall, not later than December 1 following their appointment, submit a list showing the names, addresses, freeholder status and, if available, the occupations of such of the inhabitants of their respective counties or cities as are well qualified under § 8.01-337 to serve as jurors and are not excluded or exempt by §§ 8.01-338 to 8.01-341 and 8.01-342. Such master jury list shall be used in selecting jurors for a twelve-month period beginning on the first day of the first term of court in the calendar year next succeeding December 1. The number of persons selected for each court shall be as specified in the order appointing the commissioners.

The jury commissioners shall utilize random selection techniques, either manual, mechanical or electronic, using a current voter registration list and, where feasible, a list of persons issued a driver's license as defined in § 46.2-100 from the Department of Motor Vehicles, city or county directories, telephone books, personal property tax rolls, and other such lists as may be designated and approved by the chief judge of the circuit, to select the jurors representative of the broad community interests, to be placed on the master jury list. The commissioners shall make reasonable effort to exclude the names of deceased persons and unqualified persons from the master jury list. After such random selection, the commissioners shall apply such statutory exceptions and exemptions as may be applicable to the names so selected. The chief judge shall promulgate such procedural rules as are necessary to ensure the integrity of the random selection process and to ensure compliance with other provisions of law with respect to jury selection and service.

Where a city and county adjoin, in whole or in part, the names of the inhabitants of a city shall not be placed upon the county list, nor those of a county upon the city list except in those cases in which the circuit court of the county and the circuit court of the city have concurrent jurisdiction of both civil and criminal cases arising within the territorial limits of such county or city. However, in the case of the City of Franklin and the County of Southampton, the number of jurors selected from Southampton County shall be proportionate to the number of jurors selected from the City of Franklin based upon the respective populations of the county and city.

Code 1950, § 8-208.10; 1973, c. 439; 1974, c. 369; 1977, cc. 451, 617; 1978, c. 209; 1979, c. 665; 1983, c. 107; 1984, c. 50; 1989, cc. 616, 632; 1990, c. 758; 2000, c. 828; 2007, cc. 450, 720.

§ 8.01-346. Lists to be delivered to clerk and safely kept by him; addition and removal of names.

The list so prepared shall be delivered to the clerk of the court to be safely kept by him. The list shall include a notation indicating those persons who are freeholders. The judge may from time to time order the commissioners to add to the list such additional number of jurors as the court shall direct and to strike therefrom any who have become disqualified or exempt.

Code 1950, § 8-208.11; 1973, c. 439; 1977, c. 617; 2007, cc. 450, 720.

§ 8.01-347. How names put in jury box.

When such list is made out, the commissioners shall cause all the names thereon to be fairly written, each on a separate paper or ballot, and shall so fold or roll up the ballots that they will resemble each other as nearly as may be and the names written thereon will not be visible on the outside, and shall deposit the ballots with the list in a secure box prepared for that purpose. Such box shall be locked and safely kept by the clerk of such court and opened only by the direction of the judge thereof.

Code 1950, § 8-208.12; 1973, c. 439; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-348. How names of jurors drawn from box.

Prior to or during any term of court at which a jury may be necessary, the clerk or deputy clerk, in the presence of the judge or, in his absence, a commissioner in chancery appointed for the purpose by the judge, shall, after thoroughly mixing the ballots in the box, openly draw therefrom such number of ballots as are necessary for the trial of all cases during the term or as the judge shall direct. However, a commissioner shall not be eligible to witness the drawing of a jury to be used in the trial of any case in which he will be interested as attorney or otherwise.

Code 1950, § 8-208.13; 1973, c. 439; 1977, c. 617; 1983, c. 425.

§ 8.01-349. Notations on ballots drawn; return to box; when such ballots may be drawn again.

If any ballot drawn from the box shall bear the name of a person known by the clerk or other person attending the drawing to be deceased, exempt or disqualified by law, not a resident of the county or city, or physically or mentally incapacitated for jury service, an appropriate notation on the ballot, as well as opposite the name of such person on the jury list, shall be made and the ballot shall be placed by the clerk in an envelope kept for that purpose. The other ballots, marked "drawn," shall be placed in a separate envelope and a notation of the date of the drawing shall be made on the jury list opposite the name of each juror drawn. The envelope shall be kept in the box. After all ballots have been drawn from the box, the ballots marked "drawn" may be again drawn subject to the provisions hereof applying to the original drawing.

Code 1950, § 8-208.14; 1973, c. 439; 1977, c. 617.

§ 8.01-350. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 1977, c. 451.

§ 8.01-350.1. Selection of jurors by mechanical or electronic techniques for the term of court.

Notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 8.01-347 through 8.01-349, the chief judge may order that selection of the list of jurors necessary for the trial of all cases during any term of court for that year be made by the use of random selection techniques, either mechanically or electronically, from the list submitted pursuant to § 8.01-345.

1978, c. 400.

§ 8.01-351. Preparation and disposition of list of jurors drawn.

The clerk shall make and sign a list of the names on the ballots in alphabetical order showing the name, age, address, occupation and employer of each juror, and shall deliver an attested copy of the list to the sheriff. The list shall be signed also by the judge or the commissioner in chancery appointed by the judge. The list shall be available in the clerk's office for inspection by counsel in any case to be tried by a jury during the term.

Code 1950, § 8-208.15; 1973, c. 439; 1977, c. 617; 1988, c. 818.

§ 8.01-352. Objections to irregularities in jury lists or for legal disability; effect thereof.

A. Prior to the jury being sworn, the following objections may be made without leave of court: (i) an objection specifically pointing out the irregularity in any list or lists of jurors made by the clerk from names drawn from the jury box, or in the drawing, summoning, returning or impaneling of jurors or in copying or signing or failing to sign the list, and (ii) an objection to any juror on account of any legal disability; after the jury is sworn such objection shall be made only with leave of court.

B. Unless objection to such irregularity or disability is made pursuant to subsection A herein and unless it appears that the irregularity was intentional or that the irregularity or disability be such as to probably cause injustice in a criminal case to the Commonwealth or to the accused and in a civil case to the party making the objection, then such irregularity or disability shall not be cause for summoning a new panel or juror or for setting aside a verdict or granting a new trial.

Code 1950, §§ 8-208.7, 8-208.27, 8-208.29; 1973, c. 439; 1977, c. 617.