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 South Carolina, the court may require potential jurors to respond to written questionnaires and may make the responses available to counsel or parties seven prior to working of jury selection. Persons obtaining juror questionnaire responses must ensure that the information is utilized solely for the purpose of evaluating potential jurors for a pending case and is not disseminated for any other purpose. Any person desiring to obtain the information for any other purpose must petition the court so that an appropriate hearing can be conducted[i].
Within seven working days of the date the jury is scheduled to appear, the court clerk may furnish a copy of the list to counsel or parties with cases on the relevant trial roster with an approved juror questionnaire/list request form. The list shall set out the name, city of residence, sex, race, and year of birth of each juror. The jurors and their families shall not be contacted either directly or indirectly by counsel or their agents[ii].
The court may permit the parties or their attorneys to conduct the examination of prospective jurors or may itself conduct the examination. In the latter event, the court shall permit the parties or their attorneys to supplement the examination by such further inquiry as it deems proper or shall itself submit to the prospective jurors such additional questions submitted by the parties or their attorneys as it deems proper. If the voir dire questions are not timely submitted with the pretrial brief, counsel shall have waived the right to submit voir dire questions[iii].
The court may direct that not more than six jurors in addition to the regular petit jury panel be called and impaneled 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 or are found unable or disqualified to perform their duties. They are selected in the same manner, same qualifications, same examination and challenges, same oath, 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.
The jury shall be composed of twelve persons and their verdict shall be unanimous, except that the parties may stipulate that the jury shall consist of any number less than twelve, or less than six in civil action in magistrate’s courts, or that a verdict or a finding of a stated majority of the jurors be taken as the verdict or finding of the jury.
[i]Local Civil Rule 47.02 DSC
[ii] Local Civil Rule 47.03 DSC
[iii] Local Civil Rule 47.04 DSC