Jury selection is the procedure whereby persons from the community are called to court, questioned by the litigants as to their qualifications to serve as a juror and then either selected to or rejected to serve as a juror.
In Ohio, the commissioners of jurors make an annual jury list. The commissioners select names from list of electors certified by the board of elections and from the list of qualified driver licensees certified by the registrar of motor vehicles.
The commissioners of jurors can require any person to testify concerning that person’s own qualifications or liability, or those of any other person, to serve as a juror.
To assist prospective jurors in understanding the general nature of the case, the court, in consultation with the parties, can give jurors a brief introduction to the case. The brief introduction can include a general description of the legal claims and defenses of the parties.
Any person called as a prospective juror for the trial of any cause will be examined under oath or upon affirmation as to the prospective juror’s qualifications. The court can permit the parties or their attorneys to conduct the examination of the prospective jurors or can it conduct the examination. In the latter event, the court will permit the parties or their attorneys to supplement the examination by further inquiry.
In addition to challenges for cause provided by law, each party peremptorily can challenge three prospective jurors. Peremptory challenges will be exercised alternately, with the first challenge exercised by the plaintiff. The failure of a party to exercise a peremptory challenge constitutes a waiver of that challenge. But it does not constitute a waiver of any subsequent challenge. However, if all parties fail to exercise a peremptory challenge, the joint failure constitutes a waiver of all peremptory challenges. A prospective juror peremptorily challenged by either party shall be excused. This rule will not limit the court’s discretion to allow challenges to be made outside the hearing of prospective jurors.[i]
The court can direct jurors not more than four in addition to the regular jury known as alternate jurors. Alternate jurors will replace jurors who, prior to the time the jury retires to consider its verdict, become or are found to be unable or disqualified to perform their duties. Alternate jurors will be drawn in the same manner, same qualifications, same examination and challenges, same oath, and have the same functions, powers, facilities, and privileges as the regular jurors.[ii]
[i] Ohio Civ. R. 47