1997 Regular Session
To: Judiciary B; Transportation
By: Representative Woods
House Bill 721
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 13-5-1, 13-5-4 AND 13-5-8, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT JURIES SHALL BE SELECTED FROM QUALIFIED ELECTORS AND PERSONS WHO POSSESS A VALID MISSISSIPPI DRIVER'S LICENSE WHO ARE NOT UNDER THE AGE OF TWENTY-ONE; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 13-5-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
13-5-1. Every citizen who: is not under the age of twenty-one (21) years; possesses a valid Mississippi driver's license; or * * * is a qualified elector; * * * is able to read and write; * * * has not been convicted of an infamous crime, or the unlawful sale of intoxicating liquors within a period of five (5) years; and * * * is not a common gambler or habitual drunkard, is a competent juror. No person who is or has been within twelve (12) months the overseer of a public road or road contractor shall, however, be competent to serve as a grand juror. The lack of any such qualifications on the part of one or more jurors shall not, however, vitiate an indictment or verdict. Moreover, no talesman or tales juror shall be qualified who has served as such talesman or tales juror in the last preceding two (2) years, and no juror shall serve on any jury who has served as such for the last preceding two (2) years. No juror shall serve who has a case of his own pending in that court, provided there are sufficient qualified jurors in the district, and for trial at that term.
In order to determine that prospective jurors can read and write, the presiding judge shall, with the assistance of the clerk, distribute to the jury panel a form to be completed personally by each juror prior to being empaneled as follows:
"1. Your name __________ Last __________ First __________ Middle initial
2. Your home address ___________
3. Your occupation __________
4. Your age __________
5. Your telephone number __________ If none, write none
6. If you live outside the county seat, the number of miles you live from the courthouse __________ miles
Sign your name"
The judge shall personally examine the answers of each juror prior to empaneling the jury and each juror who cannot complete the above form shall be disqualified as a juror and discharged.
A list of any jurors disqualified for jury duty by reason of inability to complete the form shall be kept by the circuit clerk and their names shall not be placed in the jury box thereafter until such person can qualify as above provided.
SECTION 2. Section 13-5-4, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
13-5-4. As used in this chapter:
(a) "Court" means the circuit, chancery and county courts of this state and includes, when the context requires, any judge of the court.
(b) "Clerk" and "clerk of the court" means the circuit clerk of the county and any deputy clerk.
(c) "Master list" means the voter registration lists for the county and the list of all persons not under the age of twenty-one (21) who possess a valid Mississippi driver's license in the county.
(d) "Voter registration lists" means the official records of persons registered to vote in the county.
(e) "Jury wheel" means any physical device or electronic system for the storage of the names or identifying numbers of prospective jurors.
(f) "Jury box" means the jury wheel in which is placed the names or identifying numbers of prospective jurors whose names are drawn at random from the jury wheel and who are not disqualified.
(g) "Senior judge" means the circuit or chancery judge, as the case may be, who has the longest continuous service on the court in a particular judicial district which has more than one (1) such judge, or if the judges are equal in time of service, then the judge who has been engaged for the longest time continuously in the practice of law in this state.
SECTION 3. Section 13-5-8, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
13-5-8. (1) In April of each year, the jury commission for each county shall compile and maintain a master list consisting of the voter registration list for the county and a list of all county residents not under the age of twenty-one (21) who possess a valid Mississippi driver's license. The Department of Public Safety shall annually provide each county with a list of all county residents who are not under the age of twenty-one (21) who possess a valid Mississippi driver's license.
(2) The circuit clerk of the county and the registrar of voters shall have the duty to certify to the commission during the month of January of each year under the seal of his office the voter registration list and the list of persons not under the age of twenty-one (21) who possess a valid Mississippi driver's license for the county.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997.