Section 12-16-100

Drawing, selection, and empaneling of juries in criminal cases - Generally.

(a) In every criminal case the jury shall be drawn, selected and empaneled as follows: Upon the trial by jury in the circuit courts of any person charged with a felony, including a capital felony, a misdemeanor, or violation, the court shall require a strike list or lists to be compiled from the names appearing on the master strike list as established in Section 12-16-74. In compiling the list or lists, names of qualified jurors may be omitted on a nonselective basis. A strike list shall be furnished for the trial of any case at hand and a copy thereof given to all parties. The jurors whose names appear thereon shall be brought into open court, the case shall be called and in the presence of the district attorney and the defendant and his attorney, the jurors shall be examined on voir dire for the trial of the case at hand. After the conclusion of the voir dire examination and the removal from the strike list of the names of those jurors who were challenged or excused for good reason, the district attorney shall be required first to strike from the strike list the name of one juror, and the defendant shall strike one, and they shall continue to strike off names alternately until only 12 jurors remain on the strike list and these 12 jurors thus selected shall be the jury charged with the trial of the case. If any defendant shall refuse to exercise a strike to which he is entitled, then the judge presiding shall exercise that defendant's strike for him. The number of names appearing on the strike list upon commencement of striking, unless a lesser number is agreed to by the parties, shall not be less than 36 if the offense charged is a capital felony nor less than 24 if the offense charged is a felony not punished capitally nor less than 18 if the offense charged is a misdemeanor or violation. In the event the list of competent prospective jurors is reduced to fewer than the number required by this subsection, the court shall add prospective jurors in the manner prescribed in Section 12-16-76. No special venire shall be ordered, drawn, or summoned for the trial of any person indicted for a capital felony.

(b) The court may in its discretion qualify such alternate jurors as it deems necessary, except that in capital cases the court shall qualify at least two alternate jurors, as required by law. Alternate jurors shall be drawn from the venire in the same manner, shall have the same qualifications, shall be subject to the same examination and challenges, shall take the same oath, and shall have the same functions, powers, facilities, and privileges as the principal jurors, except that they shall not deliberate with the jury or vote upon the verdict unless designated to replace a principal juror. An alternate juror who does not replace a principal juror shall be discharged at the time the jury retires to consider its verdict.

(c) If the court determines that more than two alternate jurors shall be selected in a capital case, or that one or more alternate jurors shall be selected in a noncapital case, upon commencement of striking, unless the parties consent to the use of a lesser number, the minimum number of names required on the strike list in subsection (a) shall be increased by two for each alternate juror to be selected; provided that such increase in names shall not apply for the first two alternate jurors to be selected in a capital case. The parties shall then strike from the strike list as herein provided until there remain 12 jurors. The last juror or jurors struck shall be the alternate or alternates, and if it becomes necessary for an alternate to replace a principal juror, the last juror struck shall be designated. The identity of alternate jurors shall not be divulged to the jurors until the jury retires for deliberation.

(d) Any county having existing laws on April 15, 1982 establishing procedures for the selection and use of alternate jurors, may at the election of the presiding circuit judge, continue to follow the provisions of such law with respect to the selection of alternate jurors. Such election must be made in writing within 30 days of April 15, 1982 and filed with the Secretary of State, the Clerk of the Supreme Court, the Administrative Office of Courts and the local bar of the county affected thereby. At any time after said election, either the presiding circuit judge, or a majority of the circuit judges in the circuit wherein the county is located, may elect to come under the provisions of this chapter by filing written notice as required above.

(Acts 1919, No. 715, p. 1039; Code 1923, §8641; Code 1940, T. 30, §60; Acts 1981, No. 81-788, p. 1381, §5; Acts 1982, No. 82-221, p. 267.)