SENATE BILL NO. 46
AS AMENDED BY SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 1
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 45, TITLE 10, DELAWARE CODE, RELATING TO JURIES, TRIAL BY JURY, JURY SELECTION AND SERVICE.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:
Section 1. Amend Chapter 45, Title 10, Delaware Code by striking said Chapter in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof the following new Chapter:
"CHAPTER 45. JURY SELECTION AND SERVICE
§4501. Declaration of Policy
It is the policy of this State that jurors serving in each county shall be selected at random from a fair cross section of the population of that county and that all qualified persons shall have an opportunity to be considered for jury service and an obligation to serve as jurors when summoned for that purpose.
§4502. Prohibition of Discrimination
No person shall be excluded from jury service in this State on account of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or economic status.
As used in this chapter:
(1) "court" means the Superior Court of the State of Delaware, and includes any judge of the court;
(1) "clerk" means the Prothonotary of each county, and includes any deputy or clerk in the office of the Prothonotary;
(2) "jury selection plan" means a written plan designed to carry out the policy and the provisions of this chapter;
(1) "voter registration list" means the current official record of persons registered to vote in a general election;
(1) "source list" means a list or an electronic system for the storage of the names on the voter registration list which may be supplemented with names from other sources to foster the policy of this chapter;
(1) "master list" means a list or an electronic system for the storage of the names of prospective jurors selected randomly from the source list;
(2) "juror qualification form" means a form approved by the court which shall elicit information relevant to the selection of jurors in accordance with this chapter;
(1) "qualified jury wheel" means a device or an electronic system for the storage of the names of prospective jurors on a master list who are not disqualified from jury service.
§4504 jury Commissioners
The court shall appoint two suitable persons in each county, both of whom shall reside in the county in which they serve and shall not at any time be of the same political party, to serve as jury commissioners. Jury commissioners shall take an oath to perform faithfully the duties of a jury commissioner and shall serve at the pleasure of the court. The court may appoint a jury commissioner pro tempore to replace a jury commissioner who is temporarily unable to serve.
§4505. Grand Jury
Grand juries in New Castle County shall consist of 15 members, and the affirmative vote of nine members shall be necessary to find a true bill of indictment. Grand juries in Kent County and in Sussex County shall consist of 10 members, and the affirmative vote of seven members shall be necessary to find a true bill of indictment. Grand
jurors shall take an oath to perform faithfully the duties of a grand juror.
§4506. Special Jury
The court may order a special jury upon the application of any party in a complex civil case. The party applying for a special jury shall pay the expense incurred by having a special jury, which may be allowed as part of the costs of the case.
§4507. Jury Selection Plan
(a) The court shall adopt a jury selection plan to carry out the policy and the provisions of this chapter. The court may adopt separate plans and varying regulations for each county and for grand, petit, and special juries, and may amend a plan at any time. The plan shall provide standards and methods for the selection and service of jurors, including but not necessarily limited to the following:
(1) the duties of jury commissioners, clerks, and the court administrator or other employees of the court;
(2) the composition of source lists, including whether voter registration lists shall be supplemented with names from other sources;
(1) the selection of names for master lists;
(1) the content of the juror qualification form;
(2) the groups of persons or occupational classes whose members shall be excused from jury service upon request;
(1) the disqualification, excuse, and exclusion of prospective jurors;
(2) the maintenance of qualified jury wheels, including the maximum time that the names of prospective jurors shall remain in a qualified jury wheel and the minimum number of names to be contained therein;
(1) assignment of persons to the grand, petit, and special jury panels, or to courts other than Superior Court;
(1) the length of jury service;
(1) the compilation, disclosure, and preservation of records used in the selection process.
(b) Persons having custody, possession, or control of any list, record, or other information required for use in the jury selection process shall supply it or make it available to the court for inspection, reproduction, and copying at all reasonable times, and persons having responsibility for devising or operating data processing systems or computer programs for the State shall certify that any such system or program complies with the jury selection plan when required by the court. The court may compel compliance with this subsection by appropriate process.
§4508. .Completion of Juror Qualification Form
(a) Prospective jurors shall be selected randomly from the source list for placement on a master list from time to time as needed;
(a) The clerk shall mail a juror qualification form to persons whose names are on a master list with instructions to provide the information sought. The juror qualification form shall contain a declaration that the responses are true to the best of the prospective juror's knowledge, and acknowledgement that a false statement therein may be punished by a fine or imprisonment, or both. If the prospective juror is unable to fill out the form, another person may do it and shall indicate that fact and the reason therefor. If it appears that there is an omission, ambiguity, or error in the information provided, the clerk shall instruct the prospective juror to make the necessary addition, clarification, or correction.
(a) Any person who fails to provide information sought as instructed shall be directed to appear forthwith before the clerk to fill out the juror qualification form. Any person who fails to appear as directed may be ordered by the court to appear and show cause for failure to do so.
(d) At the time of 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 which time the prospective juror may be questioned, but only with regard to responses to questions contained on the form and grounds for disqualification, excuse, or exclusion. Any information thus acquired by the court or clerk shall be noted on the juror qualification form.
§4509. Disqualification from Jury Service
(a) The court 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 is disqualified for jury service.
(b) All persons are qualified for jury service except those who are:
(1) not citizens of the United States;
(2) less than 18 years of age;
(3) not residents of the county of prospective jury service;
(4) unable to read, speak, and understand the English language;
(5) incapable, by reason of physical or mental disability, of rendering satisfactory jury service; or
(6) convicted felons who have not had their civil rights restored.
(c) A prospective juror may be required to submit proof as to possible
disqualification, including a physician's or Christian Science Practitioner's certificate, and the physician or practitioner is subject to inquiry by the court at its discretion.
§4510. Selection and Summoning of Jury Panels
(a) Prospective jurors shall be selected randomly from the qualified jury wheel for assignment to grand, petit, and special jury panels from time to time as needed.
(b) The clerk shall cause each person selected for jury service to be served with a summons, either personally, or by mail addressed to the person's usual residence, business, or post office address, requiring the person to report for jury service at a specified time and place. Any person who fails to appear as directed may be ordered by the court to appear and show cause for failure to do so.
(a) If there is an unanticipated shortage of available jurors, the court may require the sheriff to summon a sufficient number of jurors selected in a manner prescribed by the court.
§4511. Excuse or Exclusion from Jury Service
(a) The court 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 or excluded from jury service.
(b) A person who is not disqualified may be excused from jury service by the court only 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. The court may determine that
membership in specified groups of persons or occupational classes constitutes a showing of undue hardship, extreme inconvenience, or public necessity.
(c) A person who is not disqualified may be excluded from jury service by the court only upon a finding that such person would be unable to render impartial jury service or would be likely to disrupt or otherwise adversely affect the proceedings.
§4512. Challenging Compliance with Selection Procedures
(a) Within 7 days after the moving party discovers, or by the exercise of diligence could have discovered, the grounds therefor, and in any event before the jury is sworn to try the case, a party may move to stay the proceedings, and in a criminal case to dismiss the indictment, or for other appropriate relief, on the ground of substantial failure to comply with this chapter in selecting the grand, petit, or special jury.
(b) Upon motion filed under subsection (a) containing a sworn statement of facts which, if true, would constitute a substantial failure to comply with this chapter, the moving party is entitled to present in support of the motion the testimony of the jury commissioners or the clerk, any relevant records and papers not public or otherwise available used by the jury commissioners or the clerk, and any other relevant evidence. If the court determines that in selecting a grand, petit, or special jury there has been a substantial failure to comply with this chapter, the court may stay the proceedings pending the selection of the jury in conformity with this chapter, dismiss an indictment, or grant other appropriate relief.
(c) The procedures prescribed by this section are the exclusive means by which a jury may be challenged on the ground that the jury was not selected in conformity with this chapter.
§4513. Disclosure and Preservation of Records
(a) The names of persons summoned for jury service shall be disclosed to the public and the contents of jury qualification forms completed by them shall be made available to the parties unless the court determines that any or all of this information should be kept confidential or its use limited in whole or in part in any case or cases.
(a) Records used in the selection process shall not be disclosed, except in accordance with the jury selection plan or as necessary in the preparation or presentation of a motion challenging compliance with this chapter.
(a) Records used in the selection process shall be preserved for at least 4 years.
§4514. Compensation_and Reimbursement
(a) Jury commissioners shall receive compensation to be fixed by the court but not to exceed $1000 per annum and shall be reimbursed for necessary travel expense at the rate of $.15 per mile.
(b) Jurors shall be compensated at a per diem rate of $15 and shall be reimbursed for necessary travel expense at the rate of $.15 per mile. The State shall pay for food and lodging during sequestration of a jury.
(c) The court shall keep a record of attendance and travel or other expense and shall certify the amount due for payment by the State Treasurer.
§4515. Protection of Jurors' Employment
(a) An employer shall not deprive an employee of employment, or threaten or otherwise coerce the employee with respect thereto, because the employee receives a summons, responds thereto, serves as a juror, or attends court for prospective jury service.
(a) Any employer who violates subsection (a) is guilty of criminal contempt and upon conviction may be fined not more than $500 or imprisoned not more than 6 months, or both.
(b) If an employer discharges an employee in violation of subsection (a), the employee may file a civil action in Superior Court within 90 days for recovery of wages lost as a result of the violation and for an order requiring the reinstatement of the employee. An employee who prevails shall be allowed a reasonable attorney's fee fixed by the court.
§4516. Failure to Perform Jury Service
A person who fails to appear and show cause as ordered by the court for failure to comply with the clerk's direction to appear for the purpose of completing a juror qualification form or for failure to comply with a summons to appear for jury service or to complete jury service is guilty of criminal contempt and upon conviction may be fined not more than $100 or imprisoned not more than 3 days, or both.
The Superior Court shall have original and exclusive jurisdiction over any violation of this Chapter."
Section 2. This Act shall become effective upon its enactment into law. Any person who was selected as a prospective juror before the effective date of this Act may serve after it becomes effective.
Approved February 17, 1987