1997 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Cuevas
Senate Bill 2450
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 13-5-1, 13-5-4 AND 13-5-8, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT JURY SELECTION SHALL BE MADE FROM AMONG THOSE QUALIFIED PERSONS WHO HOLD MISSISSIPPI DRIVERS LICENSES RATHER THAN FROM QUALIFIED ELECTORS; TO REQUIRE THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY TO FURNISH LISTS OF DRIVERS LICENSE HOLDERS TO JURY COMMISSIONS; 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 not under the age of twenty-one (21) years, who possesses a drivers license or identification card issued by the Department of Public Safety or who has executed the affidavit prescribed in Section 13-5-8(2)(b); has been a resident of his respective county for more than one (1) year; 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 * * * 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 * * * list for the county provided by the Department of Public Safety pursuant to Section 13-5-8, Mississippi Code of 1972.
* * *
(d) "Jury wheel" means any physical device or electronic system for the storage of the names or identifying numbers of prospective jurors.
(e) "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.
(f) "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) By April of each year, the jury commission for each county shall compile and maintain a master list consisting of the * * * list for the county provided by the Department of Public Safety pursuant to subsection (2) of this section.
(2)(a) On or before January 1, 1998, and each year thereafter by January 1, the Department of Public Safety shall deliver to the jury commission for each county a list of names, along with mailing addresses and dates of birth, of each person twenty-one (21) years of age or older whose name appears in the drivers license database of the department and whose address is in that county. From and after July 1, 1997, the department shall begin the process of identifying persons whose names appear in such database who are not citizens of the United States and legal residents of this state for the purpose of jury selection. By January 1, 2004, the database list delivered to the jury commission for each county may include only the names of persons who are citizens of the United States and legal residents of Mississippi and whose address is in that county and who are twenty-one (21) years of age or older. The jury commission shall add to the list the name of any person who is twenty-one (21) years of age or older and who is a citizen of the United States and a legal resident of Mississippi and who indicates a desire to serve as a juror, but whose name does not appear on the database list, by requiring such person to execute an affidavit.
(b) The affidavit executed pursuant to paragraph (a) must be in substantially the following form:
State of Mississippi
I, ____________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I am ___________ years of age; that I am a citizen of the United States and a legal resident of Mississippi and______________ County; that I personally make application for jury duty; that I am eligible to serve as a juror under the Constitution and laws of Mississippi; and that I reside at ___________________ (Address) ______________.
____________ Signature _____________
Sworn to and subscribed before me this _____ day of ________,
(year), at _____________ County, Mississippi.
(Signature and title of officer
SECTION 4. Sections 2 and 3 of this act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1997; Section 1 of this act shall take effect and be in force from and after January 1, 1998.