Login | November 20, 2017

RULES OF PRACTICE AND PROCEDURE

of the
COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
GENERAL DIVISION

of
SUMMIT COUNTY, OHIO


24. JURY USE AND MANAGEMENT PLAN FOR ALL SUMMIT COUNTY JURORS

24.01 Opportunity for Service

(A) The opportunity for jury service shall not be denied or limited on the basis of race, gender, age, religious belief, income, occupation, disability, or any other factor that discriminates against a cognizable group in Summit County.

24.02 Jury Source List

(A) Pursuant to Court Order, the jury source list shall be obtained from The Board of Elections' list of registered voters. The Court shall designate a key number based on the total number of registered voters and the number of jurors needed for a year of service. The Jury Commissioners shall then receive a computer printout from the Board of Elections (for example, every 10th name).

(B) The jury source list shall be representative and shall be as inclusive of the adult population in the county as is feasible.

(C) The Court shall annually review the jury source list to ensure that it is as representative and inclusive of the adult population in the jurisdiction as is feasible.

(D) Should the Court determine that improvement is needed in the representativeness or inclusiveness of the jury source list, appropriate corrective action shall be taken.

24.03 Random Selection Procedures

(A) Pursuant to Court Order, the jury source list from the Board of Elections shall be printed out on address labels which shall be utilized to generate individual names and addresses selected at random during a public jury drawing, according to law.

(B) Departures from the principle of random selection are appropriate only to comply with lawful exceptions.

24.04 Eligibility for Jury Service

(A) All persons shall be eligible for jury service except those who are prohibited by Ohio law. This includes persons who:

1. Are less than eighteen (18) years of age;

2. Are not citizens of the United States;

3. Are not residents of Summit County;

4. Are not able to communicate in the English language; or

5. Pursuant to R.C. 2961.01, any person convicted of a felony under the laws of this state or any other state or the United States, unless the conviction is reversed or annulled, is incompetent to serve as a juror, excepting those persons who have been convicted under Ohio law and incarcerated under Ohio law and have had the restoration of their rights restored pursuant to R.C. 2967.16. Pursuant to such section, those persons who have been granted a final release by the Ohio Parole Authority, as otherwise provided in R.C. 2967.16, are competent to serve as jurors in Ohio. This section is applicable only to those persons convicted under Ohio law and incarcerated in Ohio institutions and are otherwise restored to their rights pursuant to R.C 2967.16.

24.05 Term of and Availability for Jury Service

(A) The time that persons are called upon to perform jury service and to be available shall be the shortest period consistent with the needs of justice in Summit County.

(B) Jurors shall be available to trial judges for a one-week or one trial period of service. The Jury Bailiff or those assigned by the Jury Bailiff shall schedule available jurors as needed on a one-week, one trial basis and notify them to appear. Jurors shall report only as cheduled. They shall call in every day of their week of service to see if they are required to serve. The Jury Commissioners shall insure that appropriate written jury notices are mailed to prospective jurors and maintain any electronic/telephonic communications equipment used to provide juror information, also known as the juror call-in system.

24.06 Exemption, Excuse and Deferral

(A) All automatic excuses or exemptions, except Constitutional and statutory exemptions, from jury service are eliminated.

(B) Eligible persons who are summoned may be excused from jury service only if:

1. Their ability to receive and evaluate information is so impaired that they are unable to perform their duties as jurors and they are excused for this reason by a judge; or

2. They request to be excused because their service would be a continuing hardship to them or to members of the public and they are excused by a judge or a specifically authorized court official.

(C) Deferrals for jury service for reasonably short periods of time may be permitted by the Presiding Judge or by a person or persons specifically authorized by the Presiding Judge to so act.

(D) Requests for excuses and deferrals and their disposition shall be written or otherwise recorded. Specific uniform guidelines for resolving such requests should be adopted by the Presiding Judge. All such requests shall be ruled upon by the presiding Judge, unless the Presiding Judge specifically delegates such requests in part to the Jury Bailiff or other jury staff.

24.07 Voir Dire

(A) Voir dire examination shall be limited to matters relevant to determining whether to remove a juror for cause and to determine the juror's fairness and impartiality.

(B) To reduce the time required for voir dire, basic background information regarding panel members may be made available in writing to counsel for each party prior to the day on which jury selection is to begin. However, such request must be made in written form, addressed to the trial court and in a reasonable time prior to the scheduled trial. The assigned trial judge shall rule on such procedure.

(C) The trial judge shall conduct a preliminary voir dire examination. Counsel may then be permitted to supplement that examination using the following rules on voir dire:

1. The case may not be argued in any way while questioning the jurors.

2. Counsel may not engage in efforts to indoctrinate jurors.

3. Jurors may not be questioned concerning anticipated instructions or theories of law. This does not prevent general questions concerning the validity and philosophy of reasonable doubt or the presumption of innocence.

4. Jurors may not be asked what kind of verdict they might return under any circumstance.

5. Questions are to be asked collectively of the entire panel whenever possible.

24.08 Removal from the Jury Panel for Cause

(A) If the judge determines during the voir dire process that any individual is unable or unwilling to hear the particular case at issue fairly and impartially, that individual shall be removed from the panel. Such a determination may be made on motion of counsel or by the judge.

24.09 Peremptory Challenges

(A) The exercise of peremptory challenges shall be in accordance with the Ohio Civil and Criminal Rules adopted by the Supreme Court of Ohio and applicable statutory authority.

24.10 Administration of the Jury System

(A) The responsibility for administration of the jury system in Summit County is vested exclusively in the Summit County Common Pleas Court to the extent required by law.

(B) All procedures concerning jury selection and service shall be governed by Ohio Rules of Court.

(C) Trial judges shall manage individual jurors and panels assigned to them.

24.11 Notification and Summoning Procedures

(A) The Court's notice summoning a person to jury service shall:

1. Have a record of such retained by the Jury Bailiff, which shall contain pertinent information regarding the person's summons (i.e. address, date mailed, etc.);

2. Be phrased so as to be readily understood by an individual unfamiliar with the legal and jury systems;

3. Be delivered by ordinary mail.

(B) A summons or notice shall clearly explain how and when the recipient must respond and the consequences of a failure to respond.

(C) The jury questionnaire shall be completed by those prospective jurors when they are identified with a particular case, and filled out just prior to the commencement of voir dire. Upon specific order of a trial judge, who has directed a separate jury summons be issued due to the type of case, then in such case jury questionnaires may be mailed with the summons. The jury questionnaire shall be phrased and organized so as to facilitate quick and accurate screening and shall request only that information essential for:

1. Determining whether a person meets the criteria for eligibility;

2. Providing a basic background information ordinarily sought during voir dire examination.

(D) Policies and procedures shall be established by the Administrative Judge for monitoring failures to respond to a summons or notice and for enforcing a summons or notice to report for jury service. Sanctions shall be imposed in the discretion of the Administrative Judge as authorized by law.

24.12 Monitoring the Jury System

(A) The Court shall from time-to-time collect and analyze information regarding the performance of the jury system annually in order to evaluate:

1. The representativeness and inclusiveness of the jury source list;

2. The effectiveness of qualification and summoning procedures;

3. The responsiveness of individual citizens to jury duty summonses;

4. The efficient use of jurors;

5. The cost-effectiveness of the jury management system.

24.13 Juror Use

(A) The Court shall employ the services of prospective jurors so as to achieve optimum use with a minimum of inconvenience to jurors.

(B) Each Court that requires jurors shall determine the minimally sufficient number of jurors needed to accomodate the particular trial activity. Such number shall be relayed to the jury bailiff, or the person acting on behalf of such bailiff, and that person shall summon for trial each number as required by the trial court. Herein the term “jurors” includes alternate jurors.

24.14 Jury Facilities (Common Pleas General Division, Municipal Courts, etc.)

(A) The Court shall provide an adequate and suitable environment for jurors.

(B) The entrance and registration area shall be clearly identified and appropriately designed to accommodate the daily flow of prospective jurors to the courthouse.

(C) Jury deliberation rooms shall include space, furnishings and facilities conducive to reaching a fair verdict. The safety and security of the deliberation rooms shall be ensured.

(D) To the extent feasible, juror facilities shall be arranged to minimize contact between jurors, parties, counsel and the public.

24.15 Juror Compensation

(A) Persons called for jury service shall receive a fee for their service and expenses pursuant to statutory authority, and as set by separate court order.

(B) Such fees shall be paid promptly.

(C) Employers are prohibited from discharging, laying-off, denying advancement opportunities to, or otherwise penalizing employees who miss work because of jury service as provided by law.

24.16 Juror Orientation and Instruction

(A) The Court shall have an orientation program:

1. Designed to increase prospective jurors' understanding of the judicial system and prepare them to serve competently as jurors;

2. Presented in a uniform and efficient manner using a combination of written, oral and audiovisual materials.

(B) The Court shall provide some form of orientation or instructions to persons called for jury service.

(C) The trial judge shall:

1. Give preliminary instructions to all prospective jurors;

2. Give instructions directly following empanelment of the jury to explain the jury's role, the trial procedures, including note taking and questioning by jurors, the nature of evidence and its evaluation, the issues to be addressed and the basic relevant legal principles;

3. Prior to the commencement of deliberations, instruct the jury on the law, on the appropriate procedures to be followed during deliberations, and on the appropriate method for reporting the results of its deliberations. Such instructions shall be made available to the jurors during deliberations;

4. Prepare and deliver instructions which are readily understood by individuals unfamiliar with the legal system;

5. The assigned trial judge shall, as required by law, prepare written instructions for the jury;

6. Before dismissing a jury at the conclusion of a case, the trial judge should:

a. Release the jurors from their duty of confidentiality;

b. Explain their rights regarding inquires from counsel or the press;

c. Either advise them that they are discharged from service or specify where they must report;

d. Express appreciation to the jurors for their service, but not express approval or disapproval of the result of their deliberation.

e. Explain the duties to an alternate juror who is released prior to deliberation that they may still be needed until a verdict is reached.

(D) All communications between the judge and members of the jury panel from the time of reporting to the courtroom for voir dire until dismissal shall be in writing or on the record in open court. Counsel for each party shall be informed of such communication and given the opportunity to be heard.

24.17 Jury Size and Unanimity of Verdict

(A) Jury size and unanimity of verdict in civil and criminal case shall conform with existing Ohio law.

24.18 Jury Deliberations

(A) Jury deliberations should take place under conditions and pursuant to procedures that are designed to insure impartiality and to enhance rational decision-making and shall conform with existing Ohio law.

(B) The judge should instruct the jury concerning appropriate procedures to be followed during deliberations.

(C) A jury should not be required to deliberate after a reasonable hour unless the trial judge determines that evening or weekend deliberations would not impose an undue hardship upon the jurors and are required in the interest of justice.

(D) Training shall be provided to personnel who escort and assist jurors during deliberation.

24.19 Sequestration of Jurors

(A) A jury should be sequestered only for cause, including but not limited to insulating its members from improper information or influences.

(B) The jury shall be sequestered after a capital case is submitted to the jury in conformity with existing Ohio law.

(C) The trial judge shall have the discretion to sequester a jury on the motion of counsel or on the judge's initiative and shall have the responsibility to oversee the conditions of sequestration.

(D) Standard procedures should be promulgated to:

1. Achieve the purpose of sequestration;

2. Minimize the inconvenience and discomfort of the sequestered jurors.

(E) Training shall be provided to personnel who escort and assist jurors during sequestration.

(F) Bailiff(s) for the Court shall coordinate all arrangements for transport, housing, security and meals for a sequestration of jurors.

24.20 Transportation

(A) Jury views - Counsel for the State or Municipality, or counsel in a civil case who desire a jury view, shall coordinate in advance with the Court and opposing counsel concerning transportation arrangements and confirm all such in written form.

24.21 Applicability

(A) These Rules shall be applicable to jurors summoned for use by the Summit County Common Pleas Court, the Akron Municipal Court, the Cuyahoga Falls Municipal Court and the Barberton Municipal Court. The Municipal Courts may adopt a Jury Management Plan that addresses the circumstances related to such Municipal Courts, provided, however, that such rules do not conflict with the Summit County Common Pleas Court which initially summons all jurors used by the Common Pleas Court and the three Municipal Courts, and otherwise are made in conformity with the State.

 

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