West Virginia Jury Selection

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 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 shall permit the parties or their attorneys to supplement the examination by such further inquiry as it deems fit or submit itself to the prospective jurors such additional questions of the parties or their attorneys as it deems proper.

A jury shall consist of six persons unless the court directs that it should consist of a greater number.  The plaintiff and the defendant should have two preemptory challenges which shall be exercised one at a time, alternately, beginning with the plaintiff.  Several defendants or several plaintiffs may be considered as a single party for the purpose of exercising challenges, may allow additional peremptory challenges and permit them to be exercised separately or jointly.

The court may direct that not more than six jurors in addition to the regular jury be called and impaneled to sit as alternate jurors.  Alternate jurors in the order in which they are called should replace jurors who found to be unable or disqualified to perform their duties.  Qualifications, examination and challenges, oath, functions, powers, facilities, and privileges of alternate jurors are as same as the regular jurors.  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.

The parties may stipulate that the jury shall consist of any number fewer than six 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 court may require a jury to return a special verdict in the form of a special written finding upon each issue of fact.  In that event the court may submit written questions to the jury susceptible of categorical or other brief answer.  Or it may submit written forms of the several special findings which might properly be made under the pleadings and evidence; or it may use such other method of submitting the issues and requiring the written findings thereon as it deems most appropriate. The court shall give to the jury such explanation and instruction concerning the matter thus submitted as may be necessary to enable the jury to make its findings upon each issue.  If the court omits any issue of fact raised by the pleadings or by the evidence, each party waives the right to a trial by jury of the issue so omitted.  As to an issue omitted without such demand the court may make a finding; or, if it fails to do so, it shall be deemed to have made a finding in accord with the judgment on the special verdict.

The court may submit to the jury, with appropriate forms for a general verdict, written interrogatories upon one or more issues of fact the decision of which is necessary to a verdict.  The court shall give such explanation or instruction as may be necessary to enable the jury both to make answers to the interrogatories and to render a general verdict.  The court shall direct the jury both to make written answers and to render a general verdict.  When the general verdict and the answers are harmonious, the court shall direct the entry of the appropriate judgment upon the verdict and answers.


Inside West Virginia Jury Selection