1999 Montana Legislature

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     Section 1.  Notice to jurors. The clerk of court shall serve notice by mail on the persons drawn as jurors and require the persons to respond by mail as to their qualifications to serve as jurors. The clerk of court may attach to the notice a jury questionnaire and a form for an affidavit claiming an excuse from service provided for in 3-15-313. If a person fails to respond to the notice, the clerk shall certify the failure to the sheriff, who shall serve the notice personally on the person and make reasonable efforts to require the person to respond to the notice.

     Section 2.  Section 3-15-402, MCA, is amended to read:

     "3-15-402.  Selection of qualified persons. (1) Subject to subsection (2), at the meeting specified in 3-15-401, the officers present shall select from the most recent list of all registered electors, as prepared by the county registrar, and make a list of the names of all persons qualified to serve as trial jurors, as prescribed in part 3 of this chapter. Each name appearing on the list must be assigned a number that must be placed opposite the name on the jury list and must be considered the number of the juror opposite whose name it appears. The numbers must be consecutive from "1" to the total number of jurors. A person's name may not appear on a jury list for more than one court during a 1-year term.

     (2)  The list prepared under subsection (1) may not include the name of a person permanently excluded from jury service under 3-15-313."

     Section 3.  Section 3-15-403, MCA, is amended to read:

     "3-15-403.  Lists delivered to clerk. (1) A list of the names of the persons selected, showing the place of residence and other proper particulars regarding each of them, so far as those particulars can be conveniently ascertained, must be made out and signed by the officers or a majority of them. Within 15 days after the meeting, the list must be delivered by those officers to the clerk of the district court and filed by him the clerk in his the clerk's office.

     (2) A copy of the latest jury list and a description of the approved computerized random selection process, if one is used, must be kept in the office of the clerk of court and be made available for public inspection during normal business hours.

     (3) If the clerk of court is satisfied that a person whose name is drawn is deceased or mentally incompetent or has permanently moved from the county, the name of the person must be omitted from the jury list. The reason for the omission must be entered in the minutes of the court."

     Section 4.  Section 3-15-404, MCA, is amended to read:

     "3-15-404.  Duty of jury commissioner -- jury box or computer database. (1) The clerk of court is the jury commissioner and may appoint a deputy pursuant to 7-4-2401.

     (1)(2) A county jury commissioner may by order establish the use of either a jury box, as provided in subsection (2) (3), or a computer database, as provided in subsection (3) (4), as the means for selecting jurors in the county.

     (2)(3)  If a county uses a jury box for selection of jurors, the jury commissioner shall prepare and keep a jury box and contents as prescribed in this subsection. The number of each juror shall must be written, typed, or stamped on a slip of paper or other suitable material, identical in all respects to the slips used for the other numbers. The slips shall must be placed in a box of ample size to permit them to be thoroughly mixed. The box shall must be plainly marked "jury box". The slips may be used as often as necessary, except that none may be used which that is in any manner defaced or disfigured or so marked that it may be recognized or distinguished from the others in the jury box except by the number thereon on the slip. The box shall may contain only one slip for each number corresponding to the number before the name of each juror on the jury list.

     (3)(4)  If a county uses a computer database for selection of jurors, the jury commissioner shall cause the list of jurors prepared under the provisions of 3-15-402 to be entered into a computerized database."

     Section 5.  Section 3-15-501, MCA, is amended to read:

     "3-15-501.  Order directing that trial jury be drawn and summoned. (1) At least once each year in each county, when If a civil or criminal case has been at issue and ready for trial for more than 6 months and the plaintiff or defendant in such case has requested a jury trial, or whenever the business of a district court requires the attendance of a trial jury for the trial of civil or criminal cases and no a jury is not in attendance, the court must make an shall order directing a trial jury to be drawn and summoned to attend before said the court. Such The order must specify the number of jurors to be drawn. The time at which the jurors are required to attend must be is at the discretion of the court.

     (2)  The court may direct that such causes, either a criminal or civil, proceeding in which a jury may be required or in which a jury may have been demanded be continued and fixed for trial at a time when a jury shall will be in attendance.

     (3)  A district court may draw more than one trial jury in a given year if, in the opinion of the judge or judges thereof, the service of the trial jury in attendance has been unduly demanding, and in such case the trial jury in attendance may be excused by the court from further jury duty in that year.

     (4)(3)  The judge or judges of a district or the judge of a department may designate that jury service in his or their the district or department is on a "one-day or one-trial" basis; that is, each individual juror is excused for the rest of the year after having attended for 1 day and not having been selected to serve at the trial of a particular cause or after having completed service at such a trial.

     (5)(4)  If the number of unexcused jurors is not sufficient to meet current requirements at any time, jurors excused under subsection (3) or (4) may be required to serve."

     Section 6.  Section 3-15-503, MCA, is amended to read:

     "3-15-503.  Drawing -- how conducted. (1)  (a) If the drawing of jurors is conducted by means of a jury box, the jury commissioner shall place the box on a rod so that it may readily revolve. The box must be revolved a sufficient number of times to ensure that the numbered slips in it become thoroughly mixed. Thereafter the The jury commissioner shall then draw from the box, one at a time, as many of the numbered slips as are ordered by the court.

     (b)  If the drawing of jurors is conducted by means of a computerized database, it must be conducted by use of a computerized random selection process that the judges of the district court of the county have approved in writing as satisfactorily fulfilling the requirements for the drawing of trial juries. A copy of the latest jury list and a description of the approved computerized random selection process must be kept in the office of the clerk of court and be available for public inspection during normal business hours.

     (2)  A record of the drawing shall must be entered in the minutes of the court. It must show the names of the jurors corresponding to the numbers drawn from the jury box or the names drawn by means of the computerized random selection process.

     (3)  If the jury commissioner is satisfied that any person whose name is drawn is deceased or mentally incompetent or has permanently moved from the county, the name of the person shall be omitted from the list and another name shall be drawn in its place. The reason for the omission shall be entered upon the minutes of the court. The same procedure shall be followed as often as may be necessary, until the number of names of jurors required has been drawn.

     (4)  No person may be asked to serve for more than one term during any year unless all persons on the list established under 3-15-402 have been drawn and there are no other qualified jurors available."

     Section 7.  Section 3-15-506, MCA, is amended to read:

     "3-15-506.  Obtaining additional jurors when necessary. (1) Whenever If it appears to a district judge that additional jurors will be needed for any term or a trial, the jury commissioner shall draw as many jurors as are necessary to secure the required number of additional jurors. Before the jury commissioner draws the jurors, the judge shall by appropriate order designate the number of jurors needed.

     (2)  When If the judge believes that securing the additional jurors from all of the whole county would cause unnecessary delay or expense, he the judge may order the jurors selected from only a designated portion of the county, which portion shall never may not be less than the corporate limits of the county seat. If, in the selection of the additional jurors, a juror is drawn who is a resident of an area outside the area designated by the court order, that the juror's name or number shall must be returned to the jury box or reinstated on the computer database and a new juror drawn.

     (3)  When the required number of names have been selected, the judge may order the prospective jurors notified by telephone or mail by the jury commissioner."

     Section 8.  Section 3-15-507, MCA, is amended to read:

     "3-15-507.  Clerk to call list of jurors summoned and prepare ballots. (1) At the opening of court on On the day that trial jurors have been summoned to appear, the clerk shall call the names of those summoned and not excused.

     (2)  The names of the jurors present and not excused must be written on separate ballots with the names concealed. The clerk shall deposit the ballots in a box large enough to hold all of the ballots without crowding. The box shall be so arranged that the judge or clerk drawing the ballots from the box is unable to see the ballots he is about to draw."

     Section 9.  Repealer. Sections 3-15-502 and 3-15-505, MCA, are repealed.

     Section 10.  Codification instruction. [Section 1] is intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 3, chapter 15, part 4, and the provisions of Title 3, chapter 15, apply to [section 1].

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