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.
The names of prospective jurors are randomly selected from a master list of names derived from a combination of the list of registered voters and the list of licensed drivers[i]. To serve as a juror, a person must be a citizen of the U.S., at least eighteen years old, and a resident of the county from s/he receive the summons. The person must be physically and mentally able to render satisfactory service. The person must be able to communicate in the English language.
The court may itself conduct the examination or permit the parties or their attorneys to conduct the examination of prospective jurors. If the examination is conducted by the court, it will permit the parties or their attorneys to supplement the examination.
A jury usually consists of six persons unless the court directs that it should consist of a greater number. The plaintiff and the defendant have two preemptory challenges each which are exercised alternately. Several defendants or several plaintiffs may be considered as a single party for the purpose of exercising challenges. Additional peremptory challenges may also be allowed which may be exercised separately or jointly.
The court may also impanel not more than six alternate jurors. Alternate jurors replace jurors who are unable or disqualified to perform their duties. Alternate jurors shall be selected and subject to the same terms as regular jurors[ii].
Each side is entitled to one additional peremptory challenge if one to three alternate jurors are to be impaneled and two additional peremptory challenges if four to six alternate jurors are to be impaneled. The additional peremptory challenges may be used against an alternate juror only, and the other peremptory challenges allowed by law shall not be used against an alternate juror.
[i] W. Va. Code § 52-1-5 (2009)
[ii] W. Va. Code § 56-6-12a (2009)