Ohio General Assembly
Annual Jury Source List Compilation
Maintains requirement for a new list each jury year but now the Board of Elections must provide a “current” voter list which eliminates the names of any person who has not voted in the last four years. Content of BOE list is also modified. The BMV list includes persons from the county with regular driver licenses, commercial driver licenses and state identification cards. The option to use either the voter list or a combined voter/driver list is unchanged. The Jury Commissioners must remove the names of persons granted a permanent jury excuse and those who are disqualified from service under §2313.21. A copy of the annual jury source list, in alphabetic order, must be filed with both the Commissioner of Jurors and the Clerk of Courts.
Notice of Drawing
The notice of the drawing must still be published in a newspaper of general circulation in the county at least 6 days before the draw. The Clerk and at least one Judge must be notified of the draw and attend the draw. The Sheriff no longer needs to be notified or attend the draw.
Service of Summons
The Commissioner of Jurors, the Clerk of Courts, or the Sheriff may summon jurors.
Email has been added to the authorized type of electronic notification. If the Sheriff has an interest in a case to be heard, only the Commissioner of Jurors may summon jurors.
OSBA Educational Opportunities
Jury Modernization Act of 2012
Summoning of Talesmen
The Court may order the Sheriff or the Commissioner of Jurors to immediately summon the necessary number of jurors to appear at the time fixed by the Court. Summoning a person known to be in or about the courthouse is not permitted without the consent of both parties.
Obligation of Ohio Citizens to Serve as Jurors
Retains language regarding the responsibility to serve as a trial juror when summoned, unless properly excused.
Qualification of, and Causes for, Challenge of Persons Called as Jurors
Makes language gender neutral and clarifies qualification to be a juror as a person who is 18 years of age or older, a resident of the county, and is “an elector or would be an elector” if registered to vote.
Retains language regarding reasons a juror may be challenged.
(1) That the person has been convicted of a crime that by law renders the person disqualified to serve on a jury;
(2) That the person has an interest in the cause;
(3) That the person has an action pending between the person and either party;
(4) That the person formerly was a juror in the same cause;
(5) That the person is the employer, the employee, or the spouse, parent, son, or daughter of the employer or employee, counselor, agent, steward, or attorney of either party;
(6) That the person is subpoenaed in good faith as a witness in the cause;
(7) That the person is akin by consanguinity or affinity within the fourth degree to either party or to the attorney of either party;
(8) That the person or the person's spouse, parent, son, or daughter is a party to another action then pending in any court in which an attorney in the cause then on trial is an attorney, either for or against any such party to another such action;
(9) That the person discloses by the person's answers that the person cannot be a fair and impartial juror or will not follow the law as given to the person by the court.
In addition, any petit juror may be challenged on suspicion of prejudice against or partiality for either party, or for want of a competent knowledge of the English language, or other cause that may render the juror at the time an unsuitable juror. The validity of the challenge shall be determined by the court and be sustained if the court has any doubt as to the juror's being entirely unbiased.
Failure to Testify - Juror Privacy
Adds that questionnaires used for voir dire should contain a prominent legend advising the juror of the right to request and have in-camera hearing on the record, in the presence of counsel for the parties, regarding any legitimate privacy interst of the prospective juror. Clarifies that the counsel present at the in-camera hearing is that of the parties, not that a juror has counsel present.
Employer may not Penalize Employee for Being Called to Jury Duty
Retains same prohibition against employer penalizing employee for jury duty and restrictions on type of leave time employee may be required to use. Still does not require employer to pay employee during jury service.
Failure of Juror to Attend
Continues to state that no prospective juror is to fail to appear for jury service as notified.
Contempt under Chapter 2705 is penalty for juror failure to testify, employer penalizing employee for jury service and failure of juror to appear as notified. A violation of §2313.13 (No unlawful discrimination against jurors) may result in a fine of $50 - $500, jail of 30 – 90 days, or both. Language was added that fines assessed against jurors are to be paid to the county treasury and distributed as other fines.
Jury Fees in Civil Actions to be Taxed as Costs
In civil cases where the jury is sworn and a verdict is returned, the court shall tax the jury fees as costs unless the Court determines that such action would not be in the interest of justice. Financial hardship is no longer a valid reason to waive jury fees as a cost. Adds the ability of the Court to tax incurred civil jury fees when a jury is called but the case is settled or does not go forward.
Withdrawal of Jury Demand
Allows the court to assess the cost of the summoned jury.
Costs and Jury Fees
Continues to permit Courts, in criminal cases, to assess jury fee cost if the defendant fails to appear. Adds the ability of the Court to assess jury fees as a cost if a defendant enters a plea of guilty or no contest less than 24 hours before the scheduled commencement of the trial.