Jury selection refers to a procedure employed to choose people from among the community using a reasonably random method to serve on a trial jury.
In New York, a jury will be composed of six persons[i]. The first six persons who appear as their names are drawn and called must be sworn and constitute the jury to try the issue[ii]. On application of any party, a judge will be present at the examination of the jurors.
The court can draw one or two additional jurors in its own discretion or may be drawn upon the request of a party known as alternate jurors[iii]. Such jurors will be drawn at the same time, same source, same manner, have the same qualifications, and be subject to the same examinations and challenges as of the regular jurors. They will be seated with, take the oath with, and be treated in the same manner as the regular jurors. After final submission of the case, the court will discharge the alternate jurors.
If a regular juror dies before the final submission of the case, or becomes ill, or unable to perform his/her duty for any other reasons, the court can order him/her to be discharged and draw the name of an alternate juror who will replace the discharged juror in the jury box. The alternate juror thus selected will be treated as if s/he had been selected as one of the regular jurors.
An objection to the qualifications of a juror must be made by a challenge unless the parties stipulate to excuse him/her. A challenge of a juror, or a challenge to the panel or array of jurors, will be tried and determined by the court. Persons will be disqualified from sitting as jurors if they are related within the sixth degree by consanguinity or affinity to a party. The party related to the juror must raise the objection before the case is opened; any other party must raise the objection no later than six months after the verdict
The plaintiff will have a combined total of three peremptory challenges and one peremptory challenge for every two alternate jurors. Similarly, the defendant will have a combined total of three peremptory challenges and one peremptory challenge for every two alternate jurors. Before the examination of jurors begins, the court can grant an equal number of additional challenges to both sides as may be appropriate. In any case where a side has two or more parties, the court can allocate that side’s combined total of peremptory challenges among those parties in such manner as may be appropriate[iv].
[i] NY CLS CPLR § 4104
[ii] NY CLS CPLR § 4105
[iii] NY CLS CPLR § 4106
[iv] NY CLS CPLR § 4109