Jury selection refers to a procedure employed to choose the people from among the community using a reasonably random method to serve on a trial jury. The right of trial by jury as declared by the Constitution of Alabama or as given by a statute shall be preserved to the parties inviolate. Issues not demanded for trial by jury shall be tried by the court.
The court upon motion or of its own initiative may try with an advisory jury for which a jury trial has been waived. The parties may stipulate that the jury shall consist of any number less than twelve or that a verdict or a finding of a stated majority of the jurors shall be taken as the verdict or finding of the jury.
The policy of the state is that that all persons selected for jury service is selected at random from a fair cross section of the population of the area served by the court. A citizen shall not be excluded from jury service in this state because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin or economic status[i]. The jury commission for each county shall compile and maintain an alphabetical master list of all persons in the county who may be called for jury duty. The list is reviewed and corrected and new names added from time to time, but at least once every four years. The master list is open to the public for inspection at all reasonable times. The name or identifying number of every prospective juror whose name is drawn from the master list is set forth on a card and placed in the master jury box. From time to time and in a manner prescribed by the circuit court, the jury commission shall publicly draw at random from the master jury box the names or identifying numbers of as many prospective jurors as the court orders.[ii]
A prospective juror is qualified to serve on a jury if the juror is generally reputed to be honest and intelligent and is esteemed in the community for integrity, good character and sound judgment and also:
- Is a citizen of the United States, has been a resident of the county for more than 12 months and is over the age of 19 years;
- Is able to read, speak, understand and follow instructions given by a judge in the English language;
- Is capable by reason of physical and mental ability to render satisfactory jury service, and is not afflicted with any permanent disease or physical weakness whereby the juror is unfit to discharge the duties of a juror;
- Has not lost the right to vote by conviction for any offense involving moral turpitude[iii]
All records and papers compiled and maintained by the jury commission in connection with the selection and service of jurors shall be preserved by the jury commission for four years after the master jury box used in their selection is emptied and refilled and for any longer period ordered by the court.
[i] Code of Ala. § 12-16-55 (2009)
[ii] Code of Ala. § 12-16-57 (2009)
[iii] Code of Ala. § 12-16-59 (2009)