West Virginia Code
It is the policy of this state that all persons selected for jury service be selected at random from a fair cross section of the population of the area served by the court, and that all citizens have the opportunity in accordance with this article to be considered for jury service and an obligation to serve as jurors when summoned for that purpose.
A citizen may not be excluded from jury service on account of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, economic status or being a qualified individual with a disability.
As used in this article:
(1) "The court" means the circuit and magistrate courts of this state, and includes, when the context requires, any judge of the court;
(2) "Clerk" means clerk of the circuit court and includes any deputy circuit clerk;
(3) "Master list" means the master list of residents of the county from which prospective jurors are to be chosen, and which is compiled in accordance with the provisions of section five of this article;
(4) "Persons who are registered to vote" means persons whose names appear on the official records of the clerk of the county commission as persons registered to vote in the most recent general election;
(5) "Drivers' license lists" means the official records of persons licensed by the state to operate motor vehicles and who reside within the county and have applied for a driver's license or renewal of a driver's license within the preceding two years. The department of motor vehicles shall furnish such a list upon request of the clerk of the circuit court;
(6) "Jury wheel" means any electronic system in which are placed names or identifying numbers of prospective jurors taken from the master list and from which names are drawn at random for jury panels;
(7) "Jury box" means any physical, nonelectronic device in which are placed names or identifying numbers of prospective jurors taken from the master list and from which names are drawn at random for jury panels.
Potential petit jurors shall be selected by the clerk of the circuit court pursuant to the provisions of this article and under the supervision of the circuit court, or in circuits with more than one circuit judge, the chief judge of the circuit.
(a) In each county, the clerk shall compile and maintain a master list of residents of the county from which prospective jurors are to be chosen. The master list shall be a list of individuals compiled from not less than two of the following source lists:
(1) Persons who have filed a state personal income tax return for the preceding tax year;
(2) Persons who are registered to vote in the county;
(3) Persons who hold a valid motor vehicle operator's or chauffeur's license as determined from the drivers' license lists provided by the Division of Motor Vehicles.
The clerk shall compile the master list by combining all the names from each source used and eliminating all duplicates or by selecting a sample of names from each source used by means of a random key number system. If a sample of names is selected from each source list, the same percentage of names must be selected from each list. One source list shall be designated a primary source. Names selected from the second source shall be compared with the entire list of names on the primary source. Duplicate names shall be removed from the second source sample and the remaining names shall be combined with the sample of names selected from the primary source to form the master list. If more than two source lists are used, this process shall be repeated, using the previously combined list for comparison with the third source list, and so on.
(b) The master list so compiled shall be used for a period of two years or such other period as designated by the chief judge.
(c) In addition to the master list required to be compiled under the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the clerk shall compile a list of persons who pay real property taxes to compile and maintain a list of freeholders to be used as jurors in condemnation cases.
(d) Any public officer of an agency, department or political subdivision of this state having custody, possession or control of any of the source lists designated to be used in compiling the master list shall make the source list available to the clerk for inspection, reproduction and copying at all reasonable times: Provided, That the Tax Commissioner shall be exempt from this requirement. The master list and the freeholder list shall be open to the public for examination.
(a) Not less than twenty days before the date for which persons are to report for jury duty, the clerk may, if directed by the court, serve by first-class mail, upon each person listed on the master list, a juror qualification form accompanied by instructions necessary for its completion: Provided, That the clerk may, if directed by the court, mail the juror qualification form to only those prospective jurors drawn for jury service under the provisions of section seven of this article. Each prospective juror shall be directed to complete the form and return it by mail to the clerk within ten days after its receipt. The juror qualification form is subject to approval by the circuit court as to matters of form and shall elicit the following information concerning the prospective juror:
(1) The juror's name, sex, race, age and marital status;
(2) The juror's level of educational attainment, occupation and place of employment;
(3) If married, the name of the juror's spouse and the occupation and place of employment of the spouse;
(4) The juror's residence address and the juror's mailing address if different from the residence address;
(5) The number of children which the juror has and their ages;
(6) Whether the juror is a citizen of the United States and a resident of the county;
(7) Whether the juror is able to read, speak and understand the English language;
(8) Whether the juror has any physical or mental disability substantially impairing the capacity to render satisfactory jury service: Provided, That a juror with a physical disability, who can with reasonable accommodation render competent service, is eligible for service;
(9) Whether the juror has, within the preceding two years, been summoned to serve as a petit juror, grand juror or magistrate court juror, and has actually attended sessions of the magistrate or circuit court and been reimbursed for his or her expenses as a juror;
(10) Whether the juror has lost the right to vote because of a criminal conviction; and
(11) Whether the juror has been convicted of perjury, false swearing or any crime punishable by imprisonment in excess of one year under the applicable law of this state, another state or the United States.
The juror qualification form may also request information concerning the prospective juror's religious preferences and organizational affiliations, except that the form and the accompanying instructions shall clearly inform the juror that this information need not be provided if the juror declines to answer such inquiries.
(b) The juror qualification form shall contain the prospective juror's declaration that the responses are true to the best of the prospective juror's knowledge and an acknowledgment that a willful misrepresentation of a material fact may be punished by a fine of not more than $500 or imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both fine and imprisonment. Notarization of the juror qualification form shall not be required. If the prospective juror is unable to fill out the form, another person may assist the prospective juror in the preparation of the form and indicate that such person has done so and the reason therefor. If an omission, ambiguity or error appear in a returned form, the clerk shall again send the form with instructions to the prospective juror to make the necessary addition, clarification or correction and to return the form to the clerk within ten days after its second receipt.
(c) Any prospective juror who fails to return a completed juror qualification form as instructed shall be directed by the clerk to appear forthwith before the clerk to fill out the juror qualification form. At the time of the prospective juror's appearance for jury service, or at the time of any interview before the court or clerk, any prospective juror may be required to fill out another juror qualification form in the presence of the court or clerk. At that time the prospective juror may be questioned with regard to the responses to questions contained on the form and the grounds for the prospective juror's excuse or disqualification. Any information thus acquired by the court or clerk shall be noted on the juror qualification form.
(d) Any person who willfully misrepresents a material fact on a juror qualification form or during any interview described in subsection (c) of this section, for the purpose of avoiding or securing service as a juror, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than thirty days, or both fined and imprisoned.
(e) Upon the clerk's receipt of the juror qualification questionnaires of persons selected as prospective petit jurors, he or she shall make the questionnaires of the persons so selected available, upon request, to counsel of record in the trial or trials for which the persons have been selected as prospective jurors: Provided, That upon the conclusion of the trial the juror qualification forms for persons serving on a particular trial jury may only be released with the written permission of the judge who presided over the trial or his or her successor: Provided, however, That if the judge denies the request, the reasons for the denial must be in writing and be share with all parties in the case and the person making the request within thirty days after filing the motion.
(a) At the direction of the circuit court, the clerk for each county shall maintain a jury wheel or jury box, into which shall be placed the names or identifying numbers of prospective jurors taken from the master list. The choice of employing a jury wheel or jury box shall be at the discretion of the circuit court or the chief judge thereof.
(b) In counties having a population of less than fifteen thousand persons according to the last available census, the jury wheel or jury box shall include at least two hundred names; in counties having a population of at least fifteen thousand but less than fifty thousand, at least four hundred names; a population of at least fifty thousand but less than ninety thousand, at least eight hundred names; and a population of ninety thousand or more, at least one thousand six hundred names. From time to time a larger or additional number may be ordered by the circuit court to be placed in the jury wheel or jury box. The clerk shall take measures to ensure that a sufficient number of additional jurors are drawn from time to time so that the jury wheel or jury box is refilled and additional jurors may be drawn therefrom. In October of each even-numbered year, or at such other time as the court may direct, the clerk shall remove from the jury box or jury wheel the names of all persons who have, within the preceding two years, been summoned to serve as petit jurors, grand jurors or magistrate court jurors, and who have actually attended sessions of the magistrate or circuit court and been reimbursed for their expenses as jurors pursuant to the provisions of section twenty-one of this article, section thirteen, article two of this chapter, or under any applicable rule or regulation of the Supreme Court of Appeals promulgated pursuant to the provisions of section eight, article five, chapter fifty of this code.
(c) The names or identifying numbers of prospective jurors to be placed in the jury wheel or jury box shall be selected by the clerk at random from the master list in the following manner: The total number of names on the master list shall be divided by the number of names to be placed in or added to the jury wheel or jury box and the whole number next greater than the quotient shall be the "key number", except that the key number shall never be less than two. A "starting number" for making the selection shall then be determined by a random method from the numbers from one to the key number, both inclusive. The required number of names shall then be selected from the master list by taking in order the first name on the master list corresponding to the starting number and then successively the names appearing in the master list at intervals equal to the key number, recommencing if necessary at the start of the list until the required number of names has been selected. Upon recommencing at the start of the list, or if additional names are subsequently to be selected for the jury wheel or jury box, names previously selected from the master list shall be disregarded in selecting the additional names. The clerk is not required to, but may, use an electronic or mechanical system or device in carrying out its duties. (For example, assume a county with a master list of eight thousand nine hundred eighty names, a population of less than fifteen thousand and a desired jury box or wheel containing two hundred names. Eight thousand nine hundred eighty names divided by two hundred is forty-four and nine-tenths percent. The next whole number is forty-five. The clerk would take every forty-fifth name on the list, using a random starting number between one and forty-five.)
(a) The chief judge of the circuit, or the judge in a single judge circuit, shall provide by order rules relating to the random drawing by the clerk of panels from the jury wheel or jury box for juries in the circuit and magistrate courts. The rules may allow for the drawing of panels at any time. Upon receipt of the direction and in the manner prescribed by the court, the clerk shall publicly draw at random from the jury wheel or jury box the number of jurors specified.
(b) If a jury is ordered to be drawn, the clerk thereafter shall cause each person drawn for jury service to be notified not less than twenty days before the date for which the persons are to report for jury duty with a summons and juror qualification form, if such form has not already been completed, by personal service or first class mail addressed to the person at his or her usual residence, business or post-office address, requiring him or her to report for jury service at a specified time and place.
(c) A prospective juror who fails to appear as directed by the summons issued pursuant to subsection (b) of this section shall be ordered by the court to appear and show cause for failure to appear as directed. If the prospective juror fails to appear pursuant to the court's order or fails to show good cause for failure to appear as directed by the summons, he or she is guilty of civil contempt and shall be fined not more than $1,000.
Notwithstanding any provision of this article to the contrary, the court may, after conferring with the clerk and documenting in writing the methods to be used, with such documentation to be approved by the chief judge, direct the use of electronic data processing methods, or a combination of manual and machine methods, for any combination of the following tasks:
(a) Recording in machine readable form names that are initially selected manually from source lists authorized by this article.
(b) Copying of names from source lists authorized by this article from any counties or other sources that maintain those lists in machine readable form such as punched cards, magnetic tapes or magnetic discs.
(c) Selecting names from source lists for inclusion in the jury list.
(d) Selecting names from the jury list for the list of jurors summoned to attend at any term of court.
(e) Sorting or alphabetizing lists of names, deleting duplicate selections of names and deleting names of persons exempt, disqualified or excused from jury service.
(f) Selecting and copying names for the creation of any papers, records or correspondence necessary to recruit, select and pay jurors and for other clerical tasks.
If the court elects to use electronic machine methods for any tasks described above, the selection system shall be planned and programmed in order to ensure that any group of names chosen will represent all segments of source files from which drawn and that the mathematical odds of any single name being picked are substantially equal.
When machine methods for jury selection are employed, both the jury list and the jury list as recorded in machine readable form shall be safely kept in a secure location with the office of the clerk of the circuit court.
(a) The court, shall determine whether any prospective juror is disqualified for jury service on the basis of information provided on the juror qualification form or interview with the prospective juror or other competent evidence. The clerk shall enter this determination in the space provided on the juror qualification form and on the alphabetical lists of names drawn from the jury wheel or jury box.
(b) A prospective juror is disqualified to serve on a jury if the prospective juror:
(1) Is not a citizen of the United States, at least 18 years old and a resident of the county;
(2) Is unable to read, speak and understand the English language. For the purposes of this section, the requirement of speaking and understanding the English language is met by the ability to communicate in American Sign Language or Signed English;
(3) Is incapable, by reason of substantial physical or mental disability, of rendering satisfactory jury service. A person claiming this disqualification may be required to submit a physician’s certificate as to the disability and the certifying physician is subject to inquiry by the court at its discretion;
(4) Has, within the preceding two years, been summoned to serve as a petit juror, grand juror or magistrate court juror and has attended sessions of the magistrate or circuit court and been reimbursed for his or her expenses as a juror pursuant to the provisions of §52-1-21 or §52-2-13 of this code, or pursuant to an applicable rule or regulation of the Supreme Court of Appeals promulgated pursuant to the provisions of §50-5-8 of this code;
(5) Has lost the right to vote because of a criminal conviction; or
(6) Has been convicted of perjury, false swearing or any crime punishable by imprisonment in excess of one year under the applicable law of this state, another state or the United States.
(c) A prospective juror 70 years of age or older is not disqualified from serving but shall be excused from service by the court upon his or her request.
(d) A prospective grand juror is disqualified to serve on a grand jury if he or she is an officeholder under the laws of the United States or of this state except that the term "officeholder" does not include, notaries public.
(e) A person who is physically disabled and can render competent service with reasonable accommodation is not ineligible to act as juror and may not be dismissed from a jury panel on the basis of disability alone. The circuit judge shall, upon motion by either party or upon his or her own motion, disqualify a disabled juror if the circuit judge finds that the nature of potential evidence in the case including, but not limited to, the type or volume of exhibits or the disabled juror’s ability to evaluate a witness or witnesses, unduly inhibits the disabled juror’s ability to evaluate the potential evidence. For purposes of this section:
(1) Reasonable accommodation includes, but is not limited to, certified interpreters for the deaf and hard of hearing, spokespersons for the speech impaired, real-time court reporting and readers for the visually impaired.
(2) The court shall administer an oath or affirmation to any person present to facilitate communication for a disabled juror. The substance of the oath or affirmation shall be that any person present as an accommodation to a disabled juror will not deliberate on his or her own behalf, although present throughout the proceedings, but act only to accurately communicate for and to the disabled juror.
(f) Nothing in this article limits a party’s right to preemptory strikes in civil or criminal actions.
(a) The jurors drawn for jury service shall be assigned at random by the clerk to each jury panel in a manner prescribed by the court.
(b) If there is an unanticipated shortage of available petit jurors drawn from the jury wheel or jury box the court may require the sheriff to summon a sufficient number of petit jurors selected at random by the clerk from the jury wheel or jury box in a manner prescribed by the circuit court.
No qualified prospective juror is exempt from jury service.
(a) The court, upon request of a prospective juror or on its own initiative, shall determine on the basis of information provided on the juror qualification form or interview with the prospective juror or other competent evidence whether the prospective juror should be excused from jury service. The clerk shall enter this determination in the space provided on the juror qualification form.
(b) A person who is not disqualified for jury service under section eight of this article may be excused from jury service by the court upon a showing of undue hardship, extreme inconvenience, or public necessity, for a period the court deems necessary, at the conclusion of which the person shall reappear for jury service in accordance with the court's direction.
(c) A person who is not disqualified for jury service under section eight of this article may be excused from jury service by the court if the person is a current member of the National Guard or reserves.
Any court may, upon the appearance of an excess number of qualified jurors, dispense with the attendance of the unneeded jurors on any one day the court is sitting, as long as such discharge from duty is conducted in a random fashion and in a manner consistent with the spirit of this article.
In any suit or proceeding in which a county, district, school district or municipal corporation is a party, no person is incompetent as a juror because such person is an inhabitant or taxpayer of the county, district, school district or municipal corporation. In any case where a municipal corporation is a party, the court, upon motion of either party to the suit, made either on the first day of the term of the court or at any other time not less than five days before the day set for the trial, may, in its discretion, disqualify jurors who are citizens or taxpayers of such municipal corporations. But this provision does not apply in any case between a municipal corporation and any citizen or taxpayer of such corporation.
(a) In any criminal case or any civil case referred to the Mass Litigation Panel, in any court, if qualified jurors, not exempt from serving, cannot be conveniently found in the county in which the trial is to be held, the judge of the court shall enter an order directing as many jurors as necessary be summoned from any other county or counties: Provided, That for those cases referred to the Mass Litigation Panel, jurors may only be summoned from any contiguous county.
(b) The court order shall include the following:
(1) The date on which the jurors are required to attend;
(2) The county or counties from which the jurors shall be drawn; and
(3) The number of jurors to be drawn.
(c) The judge issuing the order shall direct his or her circuit clerk to forward a certified copy of the order to the circuit clerk in the county or counties from which the jurors are to be drawn.
(d) The circuit clerk of the court conducting the drawing shall do so in the manner provided by law for the drawing of petit jurors. The circuit clerk shall draw a separate jury pool specifically designated for the purpose of complying with the court order. The proceedings for drawing the jurors and the names of the jurors drawn shall be certified by the clerk of the circuit court of the county or counties designated to conduct the drawing and a copy of the certification shall be forwarded to the clerk of the circuit court in the county where the trial is to be held. After forwarding a copy of the certification, the clerk of the circuit court of the county or counties from which the jurors were drawn shall summon the jurors to appear for jury service in the county where the trial is to be held pursuant to the provisions of section nine of this article.
(e) Jurors summoned from a county to serve in another county shall be reimbursed expenses and compensated by the county for which the juror actually served.
(a) Within seven days after the moving party discovers, or by the exercise of due diligence could have discovered, the grounds therefor, and in any event before the petit jury is sworn to try the case, a party may move to stay the proceedings, quash the indictment or move for other relief as may be appropriate under the circumstances or the nature of the case. The motion shall set forth the facts which support the party's contention that there has been a substantial failure to comply with this article in selecting the jury.
(b) Upon motion filed under subsection (a) of this section containing a sworn statement of facts which, if true, would constitute a substantial failure to comply with this article, the moving party is entitled to present, in support of the motion, the testimony of the clerk, any relevant records and papers not public or otherwise available used by the clerk, and any other relevant evidence. The clerk may identify the lists utilized in compiling the master list, but may not be required to divulge the contents of such lists. If the court determines that in selecting a jury there has been a substantial failure to comply with this article, the court shall stay the proceedings pending the selection of the jury in conformity with this article, quash an indictment or grant such other relief as the court may deem appropriate.
(c) In the absence of fraud, the procedures prescribed by this section are the exclusive means by which a person accused of a crime, the state or a party in a civil case, may challenge a jury on the ground that the jury was not selected in conformity with this article.
All records and papers compiled and maintained by the clerk in connection with selection and service of jurors from the master list, the jury box or the jury wheel shall be preserved by the clerk for at least four years after such jurors were selected, or for any longer period ordered by the court.
The clerk shall make an annual report no later than March 1 of each year to the Supreme Court of Appeals setting forth the following information: Whether the clerk employed a jury box or jury wheel for the year reported, and the age, race and gender of each person for whom a juror qualification form has been received. The Supreme Court of Appeals shall provide this information to the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Delegates on an annual basis, no later than April 1 of each year.
(a) A juror shall be paid mileage, at the rate set by the Secretary of the Department of Administration, for travel expenses to and from the juror’s residence to the courthouse or other place where the court is convened and shall be reimbursed for other expenses incurred as a result of his or her required attendance at sessions of the court at a rate of not less than $15 nor more than $40, set at the discretion of the circuit court or the chief judge of the circuit court, for each day of required attendance. The reimbursement shall be based on vouchers submitted to the sheriff and shall be paid out of the State Treasury.
(b) When a jury in any case is placed in the custody of the sheriff, he or she shall provide the jury with meals and lodging while they are in the sheriff’s custody at a reasonable cost to be determined by an order of the court. The costs of the meals and lodging shall be paid out of the State Treasury.
(c) Any time a panel of prospective jurors has been required to report to court for the selection of a petit jury in any scheduled matter, the court shall, by specific provision in a court order, assess a jury cost. In both magistrate and circuit court cases the jury cost shall be the actual cost of the jurors’ service: Provided, That the actual cost of a magistrate jury can only be assessed where the jury request or demand occurs on or after July 1, 2007. For any magistrate court case in which the jury request or demand occurred prior to July 1, 2007, the jury cost assessed shall be $200. The jury costs shall be assessed against the parties as follows:
(1) In every criminal case, against the defendant upon conviction, whether by plea, by bench trial or by jury verdict;
(2) In every civil case, against either party or prorated against both parties, at the court’s discretion, if the parties settle the case or elect for a bench trial; and
(3) In the discretion of the court, and only when fairness and justice so require, a circuit court or magistrate court may forego assessment of the jury fee, but shall set out the reasons for waiving the fee in a written order: Provided, That a waiver of the assessment of a jury fee in a case tried before a jury in magistrate court may only be permitted after the circuit court, or the chief judge of the circuit court, has reviewed the reasons set forth in the order by the magistrate and has approved the waiver.
(d)(1) The circuit or magistrate court clerk shall by the tenth day of the month following the month of collection remit to the State Treasurer for deposit as described in subdivision (2) of this subsection all jury costs collected and the clerk and the clerk’s surety are liable for the collection on the clerk’s official bond as for other money coming into the clerk’s hands by virtue of the clerk’s office. When the amount of the jury costs collected in a magistrate court case exceeds $200, the magistrate court clerk shall separately delineate the portion of the collected jury costs which exceeds $200.
(2) The jury costs described in subdivision (1) of this subsection shall upon receipt by the State Treasurer be deposited as follows:
(A) All jury costs collected in a magistrate court case which exceed $200 shall be deposited in the State’s General Revenue Fund; and
(B) The remaining balance of the collected jury costs shall be deposited as follows:
(i) One-half shall be deposited into the Parent Education and Mediation Fund created in section six hundred four, article nine, chapter forty-eight of this code; and
(ii) One-half shall be deposited into the Domestic Violence Legal Services Fund created in section six hundred three, article twenty-six of chapter forty-eight of this code.
No juror who departs without leave of the court or who, being summoned as a witness for the state, charges for attendance as such, may be entitled to receive any reimbursement for services as a juror.
The clerk of any court upon which juries are in attendance shall make an entry upon its record stating separately the amount which each juror is entitled to receive out of the State Treasury for services or attendance during the term. Any clerk who fails to pay over, as required by law, any moneys so received by the clerk or otherwise to comply with the provisions of this article, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $300.
The method of payment of jurors shall be determined by the chief judge and approved by the State Tax Commissioner. It is the duty of the clerk, as soon as practicable after the adjournment of the court or before the adjournment of the court at such time as the chief judge may direct, to deliver to the sheriff of the county a certified accounting of the amount to which each juror is entitled. If any sheriff fails to pay any allowance as required by law, the sheriff may be proceeded against as for a contempt of court.
Any allowance paid by the sheriff under the provisions of this section shall be repaid to the sheriff out of the State Treasury upon the production of satisfactory proof that the same has actually been paid by the sheriff. Proof of payment shall be in the form of a complete itemized statement indicating the total amount eligible for reimbursement.
Upon receiving a summons to report for jury duty an employee shall, the next day the employee is engaged in employment, exhibit the summons to the employee's immediate superior and the employee shall thereupon be excused from employment for the day or days required in serving as a juror in any court created by the Constitutions of the United States or of the State of West Virginia or the laws of the United States or the State of West Virginia.
If any person is guilty of any fraud by tampering with the jury wheel or jury box prior to drawing jurors or any other way in the drawing of jurors, such person shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $5,000, or imprisoned in the penitentiary for not less than one nor more than five years, or both fined and imprisoned.
In any two-year period a person may not be required:
(1) To serve or attend court for prospective service as a juror more than thirty court days, except if necessary to complete service in a particular case;
(2) To serve on more than one grand jury;
(3) To serve as both a grand and petit juror; or
(4) To serve as a petit juror at more than one term of court.
A person summoned for jury service who fails to appear or to complete jury service as directed shall be ordered by the court to appear forthwith and show cause for failure to comply with the summons. If the person fails to show good cause for noncompliance with the summons, the person is guilty of civil contempt and, shall be fined not more than $1,000.
The present method of jury selection utilized by a county shall remain in full force until a master list of potential jurors has been prepared by the jury commission under this article.
All provisions of this article shall apply with equal force and effect to the selection of jurors for magistrate juries as well as for petit juries.