H. B. 2159
(By Delegates Pino and Yeager)
[Introduced January 13, 2003; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact section three, article three, chapter
sixty-two of the code of West Virginia, one thousand nine
hundred thirty-one, as amended, relating to changing the
number of peremptory juror strikes to which the prosecutor and
the accused are entitled in the trial of a criminal case and
changing the order in which the strikes are made.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That section three, article three, chapter sixty-two of the
code of West Virginia, one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as
amended, be amended and reenacted to read as follows:
ARTICLE 3. TRIAL OF CRIMINAL CASES.
§62-3-3. Selection of jury in felony cases; striking jurors;
In a case of felony, twenty jurors shall be drawn from those in attendance for the trial of the accused. If a sufficient number
of jurors for
such the panel cannot be procured in this way, the
court shall order others to be forthwith summoned and selected,
until a panel of twenty jurors, free from exception, be is
completed, from which panel the accused may strike off six four
jurors and the prosecuting attorney may strike off two four jurors.
The prosecuting attorney shall first strike off two jurors one
juror, and then the accused six shall strike off one juror and the
strikes shall alternate between the prosecuting attorney and the
accused until each has employed the four strikes allowed. If the
accused failed to strike from such the panel the number of jurors
this section allows him or her to strike, the number not stricken
off by him or her shall be stricken off by the prosecuting
attorney, so as to reduce the panel to twelve, who shall compose
the jury for the trial of the case.
Whenever, in the opinion of the court the trial is likely to
be a protracted one, the court may direct that not more than four
jurors, in addition to the regular jury, be called and impanelled
to sit as alternate jurors. Alternate jurors in the order in which
they are called shall replace jurors who, prior to the time the
jury retires to consider its verdict, 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, shall take the same oath and shall have the same functions, powers, facilities and
privileges as the regular jurors. An alternate juror who does not
replace a regular juror shall be discharged after the jury retires
to consider its verdict. Each side is entitled to one peremptory
challenge in addition to those otherwise allowed by law if one or
two alternate jurors are to be impanelled, and two peremptory
challenges if three or four alternate jurors are to be impanelled.
The additional peremptory challenges may be used against an
alternate juror only, and the other peremptory challenges allowed
by this section may not be used against an alternate juror.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to equalize the number and
alternate the selection of juror strikes between the prosecuting
attorney and the accused in the trial of a felony.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would