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CHAPTER 218 AN ACT TO REWRITE CHAPTER 9 OF THE GENERAL STATUTES, PROVIDE FOR A JURY COMMISSION IN EACH COUNTY, CHANGE THE METHOD OF PREPARING JURY LISTS, ELIMINATE CERTAIN EXEMPTIONS FOR JURY SERVICE, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES. The General Assembly of North Carolina do enact:
Chapter 9 of the General Statutes is hereby rewritten to read as follows: CHAPTER 9 JURORS Article 1 Jury Commissions, Preparation of Jury Lists, and Drawing of Panels. Sec. 9-1. Jury Commission in Each County; Membership; Selection; Oath; Terms. Not later than October 1, 1967, there shall be appointed in each county a jury commission of three members. One member of the commission shall be appointed by the senior regular resident Superior Court Judge, one member by the Clerk of Superior Court, and one member by the board of county commissioners. The appointees shall be qualified voters of the county, and shall serve for terms of two years. Appointees may be reappointed to successive terms. A vacancy in the commission shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment, for the unexpired term. Each commissioner shall take an oath or affirmation that, without favor or prejudice, he will honestly perform the duties of a member of the jury commission during his term of service. The compensation of commissioners shall be fixed by the board of county commissioners, and shall be paid from the general fund of the county. The Clerk of Superior Court shall furnish clerical assistance to the commission, as necessary. Sec. 9-2. Preparation of Jury List; Sources of Names. It shall be the duty of the jury commission at least 30 days prior to January 1, 1968, and each biennium thereafter, to prepare a list of prospective jurors to serve in the ensuing biennium. In preparing the list, the jury commission shall use the tax Hsts of the county and voter registration records, and, in addition, may use any other source of names deemed by it to be reliable, but it shall exercise reasonable care to avoid duplication of names. The commission may use less than all of the names from any one source if it uses a systematic selection procedure (e.g., every second name), and provided the list contains approximately three times as many names as were drawn for jury duty in all courts in the county during the previous biennium. Sec. 9-3. Qualifications of Prospective Jurors. All persons are qualified to serve as jurors and to be included on the jury list who are citizens of the State and residents of the county, who have not served as jurors during the preceding two years, who are twenty-one years of age or over, who are physically and mentally competent, who have not been convicted of a felony or pleaded nolo contendere to an indictment charging a felony, and who have not been adjudged non compos mentis. Persons not qualified under this Section are subject to challenge for cause. 255 Sec. 9-4. Preparation and Custody of List. As the jury list is prepared, the name and address of each person selected for the list shall be written on a separate card. The cards shall then be alphabetized and permanently numbered, the numbers running consecutively with a different number on each card. These cards shall constitute the jury list for the county. They shall be filed with the register of deeds of the county, together with a statement of the sources used and procedures followed in preparing the list. The list shall be kept under lock and key, but shall be available for public inspection during regular office hours. Sec. 9-5. Procedure for Drawing Panel of Jurors; Numbers Drawn. The board of county commissioners in each county shall provide the Clerk of Superior Court with a jury box, the construction and dimensions of which shall be prescribed by the Administrative Officer of the Courts. At least 30 days prior to January 1 of any year for which a list of prospective jurors has been prepared, a number of discs, squares, counters or markers equal to the number of names on the jury list shall be placed in the jury box. The discs, squares, counters, or markers shall be uniform in size, weight, and appearance, and may be made of any suitable material. They shall be numbered consecutively to correspond with the numbers on the jury list. The jury box shall be of sufficient size to hold the discs, squares, counters or markers so that they may be easily shaken and mixed, and the box shall have a hinged lid through which the discs, squares, counters or markers can be drawn. The lid shall have a lock, the key to which shall be kept by the Clerk of Superior Court. At least 30 days prior to any session or sessions of Superior or District Court requiring a jury, the Clerk of Superior Court or his assistant or deputy shall, in public, after thoroughly shaking the box, draw therefrom the number of discs, squares, counters, or markers equal to the number of jurors required for the session or sessions scheduled. For each week of a Superior Court session, the senior regular resident Superior Court Judge shall specify the number of jurors to be drawn. For each week of a District Court jury session, the chief District Judge shall specify the number of jurors to be drawn. Pooling of jurors between or among concurrent sessions of various courts is authorized, and when utilized, the senior regular resident Superior Court Judge, after consultation with the chief District Judge when a District Court jury is required, shall specify the total number of jurors to be drawn for such concurrent sessions. When grand jurors are needed, nine additional numbers shall be drawn. As the discs, squares, counters, or markers are drawn, they shall be separately stored by the clerk until a new jury list is prepared. The Clerk of Superior Court shall deliver the list of numbers drawn from the jury box to the register of deeds, who shall match the numbers received with the numbers on the jury list. The register of deeds shall within three days thereafter notify the sheriff to summon for jury duty the persons on the jury list whose numbers are thus matched. The persons so summoned may serve as jurors in either the Superior or the District Court, or both, for the week for which summoned. Jurors who serve each week shall be discharged at the close of the weekly session or sessions, unless actually engaged in the trial of a case, and then they shall not be discharged until their service in that case is completed. 256 Sec. 9-6. Jury Service a Public Duty; Excuses to be Allowed in Exceptional Cases; Procedure. (a) The General Assembly hereby declares the public policy of this State to be that jury service is the solemn obligation of all qualified citizens, and that excuses from the discharge of this responsibility should be granted only for reasons of compelling personal hardship or because requiring service would be contrary to the public welfare, health, or safety. (b) Pursuant to the foregoing policy, the chief District Judge of each district shall promulgate procedures whereby he or any District Judge designated by him, prior to the date that a jury session (or sessions) of Superior or District Court convenes, shall receive, hear, and pass on applications for excuses from jury duty. Until the District Court has been established in a county, the senior regular resident Superior Court Judge of the district shall promulgate the procedures to carry out the policy set forth in this Section, and shall designate himself or another Superior Court Judge or Judges to hear and pass on applications. The procedure shall provide for the time and place, publicly announced, at which applications for excuses will be heard, and prospective jurors who have been summoned for service shall be so informed. (c) A prospective juror excused by a judge in the exercise of the discretion conferred by subsection (b) may be required by the judge to serve as a juror in a subsequent session of court. (d) A judge hearing applications for excuses from jury duty shall excuse any person disqualified under Section 9-3. (e) The judge shall inform the Clerk of Superior Court of persons excused under this Section, and the clerk shall so notify the register of deeds, who shall note the excuse on the jurors card and file it separately from the jury list. (f) The discretionary authority of a presiding judge to excuse a juror at the beginning of or during a session of court is not affected by this Section. Sec. 9-7. Removal of Names of Jurors Who Have Served From Jury List; Retention. As persons are summoned for jury service, the cards upon which their names appear shall be withdrawn from the jury list and filed separately. The dates for which each juror serves shall be noted on his card. All cards removed from the jury list because of service, or having been excused from service, or because of disqualification, shall be retained for reference in compiling the next jury list. When the succeeding list has been prepared, the list of persons who have served shall be retained for a period of two years. Sec. 9-8. Fees of Jurors. All jurors in the Superior Court shall receive such compensation as the board of county commissioners shall fix, not less than three dollars ($3.00) and not more than eight dollars ($8.00) per day; provided, that the board of county commissioners may establish different rates of compensation for different classes of Superior Court jurors within the limitations set out above. A board of county commissioners may fix the compensation of jurors to pass upon the competency of any person, under the provisions of Chapter 35, Article 2, of the General 257 Statutes, at not less than one dollar ($1.00) per day and not more than six dollars ($6.00) per day. In addition to the compensation provided for above, all jurors shall receive a travel allowance of five cents (5) per mile for travel to the seat of court and return home, the distance to be computed by the usual route of public travel; provided, that this allowance shall be paid once per calendar week for each calendar week in which attendance is required. This Section shall cease to be effective in each county on the date that a District Court is established therein, and thereupon G. S. 7A-312 shall govern the compensation of jurors. Until that time all local modifications of the general law as to jury fees shall remain in effect. This Section is repealed effective January 1, 1971 See. 9-9. Jury Lists During Period July 1, 1967 to December 31, 1967 During the period July 1, 1967, to December 31, 1967, a county may, if practicable, continue to use the jury list prepared for the biennium ending June 30, 1967 If it is not practicable to use such jury list, a jury list for this six-months period shall be prepared and used in accordance with the laws in effect prior to the ratification of this Act. This Section is repealed effective January 1, 1968 Article 2 Petit Jurors Sec. 9-10. Summons to Jurors. The register of deeds shall, within three days after the receipt of numbers drawn, deliver the list of prospective jurors to the sheriff of the county, who shall summon the persons named therein. The summons shall be served personally, or by leaving a copy thereof at the place of residence of the juror, or by telephone or first class mail, at least 15 days before the session of court for which the juror is summoned. Service by telephone, or by first class mail if mailed to the correct current address of the juror on or before the fifteenth day before the day the court convenes, shall be valid and binding on the person served, and he shall be bound to appear in the same manner as if personally served. The summons shall contain information as #NAME? the time, place, and authority before whom applications for excuses from jury service may be heard. See. 9-11. Supplemental Jurors; Special Venire. (a) If necessary, the court may, without using the jury list, order the sheriff to summon from day to day additional jurors to supplement the original venire. Jurors so summoned shall have the same qualifications and be subject to the same challenges as jurors selected for the regular jury list. If the presiding judge finds that service of summons by the sheriff is not suitable because of his direct or indirect interest in the action to be tried, the judge may appoint some suitable person in place of the sheriff to summon supplemental jurors. (b) The presiding judge may, in his discretion, at any time before or during a session direct that supplemental jurors or a special venire be selected from the jury list in the same manner as is provided for the selection of regular jurors. Jurors summoned under this subsection may be discharged by the court at any time during the session and are subject to the same challenges as regular jurors, and to no other challenges. 258 Sec. 9-12. Supplemental Jurors From Other Counties. (a) On motion of any party or the State, or on his own motion, any Judge of the Superior Court, if he is of the opinion that it is necessary in order to provide a fair trial in any case, and regardless of whether he will preside over the trial of that case, may order as many jurors as he deems necessary to be summoned from any county or counties in the same judicial district as the county of trial or in any adjoining judicial district. These jurors shall be selected and shall serve in the manner provided for selection and service of supplemental jurors selected from the jury list. These jurors shall be subject to the same challenges as other jurors, except challenges for non-residence in the county of trial. (b) Transportation may be furnished in lieu of mileage. (c) The county of trial shall pay jurors summoned under this Section at the rate provided by law for the county from which they are summoned. When a District Court is established in the county of trial, the jurors shall be compensated by the State as provided in G. 8S. 7A-312. Sec. 9-13. Penalty for Disobeying Summons. Every person summoned to appear as a juror who has not been excused, and who fails to appear and attend until duly discharged, shall be subject to a fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50.00), to be imposed by the court, unless he renders an excuse deemed sufficient. The forfeiture so imposed if not paid forthwith shall be entered as a judgment against the defaulting juror, and the Clerk of Superior Court shall issue an execution against his estate. Sec. 9-14. Jury Sworn; Judge Decides Competency. The elerk shail, at the beginning of court, swear all jurors who have not been selected as grand jurors. Each juror shall swear or affirm that he will truthfully and without prejudice or partiality try all issues in criminal or civil actions that come before him and render TRUE verdicts according to the evidence. Nothing herein shall be construed to disallow the usual challenges in law to the whole jury so sworn or to any juror; and if by reason of such challenge any juror is withdrawn from a jury being selected to try a case, his place on that jury shall be taken by another qualified juror. The presiding judge shall decide all questions as to the competency of jurors. Sec. 9-15. Questioning Jurors Without Challenge; Challenges for Cause. (a) The court, or any party to an action, civil or criminal, shall be allowed, in selecting the jury, to make inquiry as to the fitness and competency of any person to serve as a juror, without having such inquiry treated as a challenge of such person, and it shall not be considered by the court that any person is challenged as a juror until the party shall formally state that such person is so challenged. (b) It shall not be a valid cause for challenge that any juror, regular or supplemental, is not a freeholder or has not paid the taxes assessed against him. (c) If any juror has a suit pending and at issue in the court in which he is serving, he may be challenged for cause, and he shall be withdrawn from the trial panel, and may be withdrawn from the venire in the discretion of the presiding judge. Sec. 9-16. Exemption From Civil Arrest. No sheriff or other officer shall arrest under civil process any juror during his attendance at or going to and returning from any session of the Superior or District Court. 259 Any such arrest shall be invalid, and the defendant on motion shall be discharged. Sec. 9-17. Jurors Impaneled to Try Case Furnished With Accommodations; Separation of Jurors. A jury, impaneled to try any cause, shall be put in charge of an officer of the court and shall be furnished with such accommodations as the court may order, and the accommodations shall be paid for by the parties or by the State, as ordered by the presiding judge. The presiding judge, in his discretion, may direct any jury to be sequestered while it has a case or issue under consideration. Sec. 9-18. Alternate Jurors. Whenever the presiding judge deems it appropriate, one or more alternate jurors may be selected in the same manner as the regular trial panel of jurors in the case, but after the regular jury has been duly impaneled. Each party shall be entitled to two peremptory challenges as to each such alternate juror, in addition to any unexpended challenges the party may have left after the selection of the regular trial panel. Alternate jurors shall be sworn and seated near the jury with equal opportunity to see and hear the proceedings and shall attend the trial at all times with the jury and shall obey all orders and admonitions of the court to the jury. When the jurors are ordered kept together in any case, the alternate jurors shall be kept with them. An alternate juror shall receive the same compensation as other jurors and, except as hereinafter provided, shall be discharged upon the final submission of the case to the jury. If before that time any juror dies, becomes incapacitated or disqualified, or is discharged for any reason, an alternate juror shall become a part of the jury and serve in all respects as those selected on the regular trial panel. If more than one alternate juror has been selected, they shall be available to become a part of the jury in the order in which they were selected. Article 3 Peremptory Challenges Sec. 9-19. Peremptory Challenges in Civil Cases. The clerk, before a jury is impaneled to try the issues in any civil suit, shall read over the names of the prospective jurors in the presence and hearing of the parties or their counsel; and the parties, or their counsel for them, may challenge peremptorily eight jurors without showing any cause therefor, and the challenges shall be allowed by the court. Sec. 9-20. Several Defendants; Challenges Apportioned; Discretion of Judge; Civil Cases. When there are two or more defendants in a civil action, the presiding judge, if it appears that there are antagonistic interests between the defendants, may in his discretion apportion among the defendants the challenges now allowed by law, or he may increase the number of challenges to not exceeding six for each defendant or class of defendants representing the same interest. In either event, the same number of challenges shall be allowed each defendant or class of defendants representing the same interest. The decision of the judge as to the nature of the interests and number of challenges shall be final. Sec. 9-21. Peremptory Challenges in Criminal Cases. (a) In all capital cases each defendant may challenge peremptorily without cause 14 jurors and no more. In all other criminal cases each defendant may challenge peremptorily six jurors without cause and no more. To enable defendants 260 to exercise this right, the clerk shall read over the names of the jurors on the panel, in the presence and hearing of the defendants and their counsel, before the jury is impaneled. (b) In all capital cases the State may challenge peremptorily without cause six jurors and no more. In all other criminal cases the State may challenge peremptorily without cause four jurors and no more. The States challenge, peremptory or for cause, must be made before the juror is tendered to the defendant. The State does not have the right to stand any jurors at the foot of the panel. Article 4 Grand Jurors Sec. 9-22. How Grand Jury Drawn. (a) At the first jury session of Superior Court for the trial of criminal cases in each county after January 1, 1968, the presiding judge shall direct the names of all persons returned as jurors to be written on scrolls of paper and put into a box or hat. The clerk of court or his assistant or deputy shall draw out the names of 18 persons who shall serve as grand jurors. Of these 18, the first nine drawn shall serve for a period of six months and until their replacements are selected and sworn, and the next nine for a period of 12 months and until their replacements are selected and sworn. Thereafter, beginning with the first criminal session of Superior Court after July 1, 1968, and continuing with the first criminal session of Superior Court after January 1 and July 1 of each year, nine new grand jurors shall be selected in the manner provided above to replace the jurors whose terms have expired. All new grand jurors so selected shall serve for a period of 12 months, and until their replacements are selected and sworn. In the event of a vacancy occurring in the membership of the grand jury, the Superior Court Judge holding the next criminal session in the county shall order a new juror drawn in the manner provided above to fill the vacancy. (b) The presiding judge at any criminal session of Superior Court may at any time order the grand jury to be assembled for the purpose of hearing his charge. The presiding judge at any criminal session of Superior Court may at any time discharge the grand jury and order a new grand jury to be selected and qualified, as provided in this Section. The first nine new grand jurors selected shall serve out the terms of the former grand jurors with six months or less to serve, and the next nine selected shall serve out the terms of those with more than six months to serve. Sec. 9-23. Exceptions to Qualifications of Grand Jurors. All exceptions to grand jurors on account of their disqualifications shall be taken before the petit jury is sworn and impaneled to try the issue, by motion to quash the indictment, and if not taken at that time shall be deemed to be waived. But no indictment shall be quashed, nor shall judgment thereon be arrested, because any member of the grand jury finding such bills of indictment had not paid his taxes or was a party to any suit pending and at issue. Sec. 9-24. Judge to Appoint Foreman; Acting Foreman. The foreman of the grand jury shall be appointed by the presiding Judge of a Superior Court session in which grand jurors are chosen. The foreman shall serve for a term of six months, and until his successor has been appointed and qualified, and he may be reappointed for a second term. He shall be sworn 261 according to law. In the absence of the foreman, or if the foreman is unable to serve, the presiding judge shall appoint an acting foreman, who shall have all the powers of the foreman. Sec. 9-25. Foreman May Administer Oaths to Witnesses. The foreman of every grand jury duly sworn and impaneled in any of the courts has power to administer oaths and affirmations to persons to be examined before it as witnesses. The foreman shall mark on the bill the names of the witnesses sworn and examined before the jury. Sec. 9-26. Grand Jury to Visit County Home and Jail. Every grand jury, while the court is in session, shall inspect the county home for the aged and infirm, the workhouse, if there is one, and the jail, and report to the court the condition of the facilities and of the inmates and prisoners confined therein, and also the manner in which the jailer or superintendent has discharged his duties. It is not necessary for any grand jury in any county to make any inspections or submit any reports with respect to any county offices or agencies other than those required by this Section, nor for any Judge of the Superior Court to charge the grand jury with respect thereto.