JURY SELECTION PLAN
The purpose of the jury selection plan is to incorporate, to the greatest degree possible, the North Dakota Standards Relating to Jury Use and Management which are incorporated as an Appendix to Supreme Court Administrative Rule 9. Implementation of this plan will provide a uniform method of jury selection and for the efficient management of jurors.
The jury selection plan is issued in accordance with Administrative Rule 9. This plan is filed with the Clerk of the North Dakota Supreme Court and the Clerk of District Court in each county and is open to inspection during normal business hours.
III. Effective Date
This plan becomes effective on the date it is filed with the Clerk of the North Dakota Supreme Court and remains in effect until amended or withdrawn by the State Court Administrator.
IV. Selection of Master Jury List
A. The master jury list consists of the combined non-duplicated names taken from the voters in the most recent general election and a list of licensed drivers selected during the month of December of the same year.
On or about the third working day of January in each odd-numbered year, the state court administrator's office shall obtain an alphabetical list of all drivers from the Department of Transportation and an alphabetical list of all actual voters from the Secretary of State. These lists will be entered into the automated jury management program and combined to form a statewide master source list no later than February 15th.
V. Qualifications and Summons
1. As needed, the clerk shall qualify for later summoning (the two-step method) or qualify and summon (the one-step method) the appropriate number of jurors needed for the next trial or term of service by mailing the uniform juror qualification form developed in accordance with Administrative Rule 9, Standard 11.
2. In general, a qualification form should be sent by first class mail to each person in the jury pool. However, if it is known to the clerk that a person is deceased, it should be documented in the automated jury management system as a permanent disqualification and the form should not be sent.
The list may contain names of persons whose mailing address is out of county and the names of prospective jurors who are not eighteen. While it may appear from the source list that a juror will not be qualified, the law provides that determination of qualification is based on "information provided on a juror qualification form or interview". Therefore, qualification forms should be mailed.
3. Contents of Qualification and Questionnaire.
The questions on the uniform juror qualification form must be limited to those questions to which the answers may disqualify a person from jury service. The contents of the qualification form are governed by Section 27-09.1-07, N.D.C.C.
Questions that do not directly address the determination of qualifications must not appear on the qualification form, but may be part of a supplemental juror questionnaire. A supplemental juror questionnaire is a questionnaire developed for the purpose of voir dire and must be approved by the judge assigned to the case. Any information obtained through a supplemental questionnaire is subject to Administrative Rule 41 with respect to access or confidentiality.
VI. Determination of Qualifications.
1. The judge of the court shall determine if a prospective juror is disqualified. The presiding judge may delegate this determination to the clerk of court or court administrative staff. The delegation and extent of the delegation must be made in the manner set forth in Section X of this plan.
2. The determination concerning qualification must be made as of the date the qualification form is signed by the prospective juror.
3. Medical Disqualification - Upon indication by the prospective juror that medical reasons are a basis for disqualification the clerk should require the prospective juror to submit a physician's certificate.
VII. Excuses and Exemptions.
There are no automatic excuses or exemptions from juror service. The court may make determinations on individual excuse requests or delegate the decision by issuing an excuse policy.
Temporary excuse. The court may grant temporary excuses from jury service upon a showing of:
(a) undue hardship;
(b) extreme inconvenience; or
(c) public necessity.
The granting of a temporary excuse should be based on the circumstances at the time the prospective juror is summoned.
Part-time residents: Persons such as students or retired persons who go south for the winter who are temporarily residing away from their county of residence and for whom it is determined by the court that because of inconvenience or the cost of reimbursement to return to their home county for jury service is impractical should be granted a deferment. A large number of any recognizable group temporarily excused until they return home in the summer may result in a biased sample of prospective jurors during the summer months.
All disqualifications and excuses, temporary or permanent, must be granted by the court. The presiding judge may delegate this determination to the clerk of court or court administrative staff. The delegation and extent of delegation must be made in the manner set forth in Section X of this plan. The clerk shall ensure that the status of a prospective juror is current at all times and shall note any disqualifications or excuses on the juror's record in the automated jury management system.
VIII. Number of Jurors Summoned.
As a general guideline, the number of jurors summoned should be equal to the number of jurors needed, number of alternates needed, total number of peremptories allowed, plus two. Certain cases may requires this number to be increased.
Failure of Prospective Juror to Return Form.
1. If a prospective juror has failed to return a completed juror qualification form within five (5) days, the clerk shall send, by first class mail, a notice directing the prospective juror to appear before the clerk to fill out the juror qualification form. If after an additional fifteen (15) days the person has not appeared, the clerk shall notify the court and the state's attorney for action pursuant to subsection 3 of section 27-09.1-07.
2. Persons summoned for jury service must report at the time and place indicated on the summons. The prospective jurors will report to the clerk, the bailiff, or other officer as directed by the court. The officer will report to the court the names of persons who fail to appear as summoned.
IX. Availability of Service.
To minimize the inconvenience of jury service the length of availability for any juror should be as short as practical for the efficient operation of the court.
Whenever possible, a juror should not have to maintain an availability status beyond being summoned three times, appearing at the courthouse two times, or serving one trial.
X. Delegation of Duties.
The judge of the court may delegate routine decisions relating to qualifications and excuses to the clerk of court, court administrator, or other qualified person. The extent of the delegation and guidelines to be followed shall be in writing and attached to the selection plan.