2002 Regular Session
To: Judiciary A
By: Representative McBride
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 13-5-67, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE METHOD FOR SELECTING ALTERNATE JURORS IN CIVIL AND CRIMINAL CASES; TO INCLUDE COUNTY COURTS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 13-5-67, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
13-5-67. Except in cases in which jury selection and selection of alternate jurors is governed by rules promulgated by the Mississippi Supreme Court, * * * a circuit judge, county court judge or chancellor presiding in a case in which a jury is to be used, in exercising discretion, may direct that, in addition to the regular panel, a sufficient number of jurors, as determined by the trial judge, be impaneled to sit as alternate jurors. Such alternate jurors, in the order in which they are impaneled, shall replace regular trial jurors who * * * become unable or disqualified to perform their duties. Alternate jurors shall be drawn in the same manner, shall have the same qualifications, shall be subject to the same examination and challenges for cause, shall take the same oath and shall have the same functions, powers, facilities and privileges as the regular jurors. * * * Alternate jurors who have not replaced * * * regular jurors * * * at the time the jury retires to consider its verdict may be retained, subject to the trial judge's instructions to refrain from discussion about the merits of the case, whether sequestered within or without the jury room. If a regular juror has to be excused after the jury has retired to consider its verdict, the trial judge may, in exercising discretion, replace the excused regular juror with an alternate juror; however, the trial judge shall first voir dire the next available alternate juror to assure that during the period of sequestration, the alternate juror has not discussed with any one the merits of the case under consideration, nor received any extraneous prejudicial information about the case, and if so satisfied upon proper finding of record, the trial judge may then place the duly qualified alternate juror on the regular trial jury so that the jury may continue its deliberation. This procedure of replacing a regular juror with an alternate juror, in the discretion of the trial judge, may be utilized in any trial, including either phase of a bifurcated civil or criminal jury trial. The number and manner of exercising peremptory challenges to alternate jurors shall be governed by rules promulgated by the Mississippi Supreme Court.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2002.