§ 8.01-336. Jury trial of right; waiver of jury trial; court-ordered jury trial; trial by jury of plea in equity; equitable claim.
A. The right of trial by jury as declared in Article I, Section 11 of the Constitution of Virginia and by statutes thereof shall be preserved inviolate to the parties.
B. Waiver of jury trial. – In any action at law in which the recovery sought is greater than $100, exclusive of interest, unless one of the parties demands that the case or any issue thereof be tried by a jury, or in a criminal action in which trial by jury is dispensed with as provided by law, the whole matter of law and fact may be heard and judgment given by the court.
C. Court-ordered jury trial. – Notwithstanding any provision in this Code to the contrary, in any action asserting a claim at law in which there has been no demand for trial by jury by any party, a circuit court may on its own motion direct one or more issues, including an issue of damages, to be tried by a jury.
D. Trial by jury of plea in equity. – In any action in which a plea has been filed to an equitable claim, and the allegations of such plea are denied by the plaintiff, either party may have the issue tried by jury.
E. Suit on equitable claim. – In any suit on an equitable claim, the court may, of its own motion or upon motion of any party, supported by such party’s affidavit that the case will be rendered doubtful by conflicting evidence of another party, direct an issue to be tried before an advisory jury.
§ 8.01-337. Who liable to serve as jurors.
All citizens over eighteen years of age who have been residents of the Commonwealth one year, and of the county, city or town in which they reside six months next preceding their being summoned to serve as such, and competent in other respects, except as hereinafter provided, shall be liable to serve as jurors. No person shall be deemed incompetent to serve on any jury because of blindness or partial blindness. Military personnel of the United States Army, Air Force or Navy shall not be considered residents of this Commonwealth by reason of their being stationed herein.
§ 8.01-338. Who disqualified.
The following persons shall be disqualified from serving as jurors:
1. Persons adjudicated incapacitated;
2. Persons convicted of treason or a felony; or
3. Any other person under a disability as defined in § 8.01-2 and not included in subdivisions 1 or 2 above.
§ 8.01-339. No person eligible for whom request is made.
No person shall be eligible to serve on any jury when he, or any person for him, solicits or requests a jury commissioner to place his name in a jury box or in any way designate such person as a juror.
§ 8.01-340. No person to serve who has case at that term.
No person shall be admitted to serve as a juror at a term of a court during which he has any matter of controversy which has been or is expected to be tried by a jury during the same term.
§ 8.01-341. Who are exempt from jury service.
The following shall be exempt from serving on juries in civil and criminal cases:
1. The President and Vice President of the United States,
2. The Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General of the Commonwealth,
3. The members of both houses of Congress,
4. The members of the General Assembly, while in session or during a period when the member would be entitled to a legislative continuance as a matter of right under § 30-5,
5. Licensed practicing attorneys,
6. The judge of any court, members of the State Corporation Commission, members of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Commission, and magistrates,
7. Sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, state police, and police in counties, cities and towns,
8. The superintendent of the penitentiary and his assistants and the persons composing the guard,
9. Superintendents and jail officers, as defined in § 53.1-1, of regional jails.
§ 8.01-341.1. Exemptions from jury service upon request.
Any of the following persons may serve on juries in civil and criminal cases but shall be exempt from jury service upon his request:
1. through 3. [Repealed.]
4. A mariner actually employed in maritime service,
5. through 7. [Repealed.]
8. A person who has legal custody of and is necessarily and personally responsible for a child or children 16 years of age or younger requiring continuous care by him during normal court hours, or any mother who is breast-feeding a child,
9. A person who is necessarily and personally responsible for a person having a physical or mental impairment requiring continuous care by him during normal court hours,
10. Any person over 70 years of age,
11. Any person whose spouse is summoned to serve on the same jury panel,
12. Any person who is the only person performing services for a business, commercial or agricultural enterprise and whose services are so essential to the operations of the business, commercial or agricultural enterprise that such enterprise must close or cease to function if such person is required to perform jury duty,
13. Any person who is the only person performing services for a political subdivision as a firefighter, as defined in § 65.2-102, and whose services are so essential to the operations of the political subdivision that such political subdivision will suffer an undue hardship in carrying out such services if such person is required to perform jury duty,
14. Any person employed by the Office of the Clerk of the House of Delegates, the Office of the Clerk of the Senate, the Division of Legislative Services, and the Division of Legislative Automated Systems, however, this exemption shall apply only to jury service starting (i) during the period beginning 60 days prior to the day any regular session commences and ending 30 days after the day of adjournment of such session and (ii) during the period beginning seven days prior to the day any reconvened or special session commences and ending seven days after the day of adjournment of such session,
15. Any general registrar, member of a local electoral board, or person appointed or employed by either the general registrar or the local electoral board, except officers of election appointed pursuant to Article 5 (§ 24.2-115 et seq.) of Chapter 1 of Title 24.2; however, this exemption shall apply only to jury service starting (i) during the period beginning 90 days prior to any election and continuing through election day, (ii) during the period to ascertain the results of the election and continuing for 10 days after the local electoral board certifies the results of the election under § 24.2-671 or the State Board of Elections certifies the results of the election under § 24.2-679, or (iii) during the period of an election recount or contested election pursuant to Chapter 8 (§ 24.2-800 et seq.) of Title 24.2. Any officer of election shall be exempt from jury service only on election day and during the periods set forth in clauses (ii) and (iii).
§ 8.01-341.2. Deferral or limitation of jury service for particular occupational inconvenience.
The court, on its own motion, may exempt any person from jury service for a particular term of court, or limit that person’s service to particular dates of that term, if serving on a jury during that term or certain dates of that term of court would cause such person a particular occupational inconvenience. Any such person who is selected for jury service, and who is exempted under the provisions of this section, shall not be discharged from his obligation to serve on a jury, but such obligation shall only be deferred until the term of court next after such particular occupational inconvenience shall end.
§ 8.01-342. Restrictions on amount of jury service permitted.
A. The jury commissioners shall not include on the jury list provided for in § 8.01-345 the name of any person who has been called and reported to any state court for jury duty at any time during the period of three years next preceding the date of completion of such jury list.
B. If such person has been called and reported for jury duty in the trial of any case, either civil or criminal, at any one term of a court, he shall not be permitted to serve as a juror in any civil or criminal case, at any other term of that court during the three-year period set forth in subsection A of this section, unless all the persons whose names are in the jury box have been drawn to serve during such three-year period; however, such person shall be permitted to serve on any special jury ordered pursuant to § 8.01-362 and on any grand jury.
§ 8.01-343. Appointment of jury commissioners.
The judge of each circuit court in which juries are impaneled shall, prior to the first day of July in each year, appoint for the next ensuing year ending on the following first day of July not less than two nor more than fifteen persons as jury commissioners, who shall be competent to serve as jurors under the provisions of this chapter, and shall be citizens of intelligence, morality, and integrity. The judge of the circuit court of a county having the urban county executive form of government may appoint jury commissioners at any time prior to the first day of November in each year. Any one judge of the judicial circuit may make such appointment under this section. No practicing attorney-at-law, however, shall be appointed as a jury commissioner. Such appointment shall be certified by the judge to the clerk of the court for which the appointment is made, who shall enter the same on the civil order book of such court. No jury commissioner shall be eligible to reappointment for at least three years after the expiration of the year for which he was appointed. For the purpose of this section, the two divisions of the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond shall be deemed to be separate courts.
§ 8.01-344. Notification of jury commissioners; their oath.
Such commissioners shall be immediately notified of their appointment by the clerk, and before entering upon the discharge of their duties shall take and subscribe an oath or affirmation before the clerk of such court in the following form: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will honestly, without favor or prejudice, perform the duties of jury commissioner during the year; that in selecting persons to be drawn as jurors, I will not select any person I believe to be disqualified or exempt from serving as a juror; that I will select none whom I have been requested to select; and that in all my selections I will endeavor to promote only the impartial administration of justice.”
§ 8.01-345. Lists of qualified persons to be prepared by jury commissioners; random selection process.
The commissioners shall, not later than December 1 following their appointment, submit a list showing the names, addresses, freeholder status and, if available, the occupations of such of the inhabitants of their respective counties or cities as are well qualified under § 8.01-337 to serve as jurors and are not excluded or exempt by §§ 8.01-338 to 8.01-341 and 8.01-342. Such master jury list shall be used in selecting jurors for a twelve-month period beginning on the first day of the first term of court in the calendar year next succeeding December 1. The number of persons selected for each court shall be as specified in the order appointing the commissioners.
The jury commissioners shall utilize random selection techniques, either manual, mechanical or electronic, using a current voter registration list and, where feasible, a list of persons issued a driver’s license as defined in § 46.2-100 from the Department of Motor Vehicles, city or county directories, telephone books, personal property tax rolls, and other such lists as may be designated and approved by the chief judge of the circuit, to select the jurors representative of the broad community interests, to be placed on the master jury list. The commissioners shall make reasonable effort to exclude the names of deceased persons and unqualified persons from the master jury list. After such random selection, the commissioners shall apply such statutory exceptions and exemptions as may be applicable to the names so selected. The chief judge shall promulgate such procedural rules as are necessary to ensure the integrity of the random selection process and to ensure compliance with other provisions of law with respect to jury selection and service.
Where a city and county adjoin, in whole or in part, the names of the inhabitants of a city shall not be placed upon the county list, nor those of a county upon the city list except in those cases in which the circuit court of the county and the circuit court of the city have concurrent jurisdiction of both civil and criminal cases arising within the territorial limits of such county or city. However, in the case of the City of Franklin and the County of Southampton, the number of jurors selected from Southampton County shall be proportionate to the number of jurors selected from the City of Franklin based upon the respective populations of the county and city.
§ 8.01-346. Lists to be delivered to clerk and safely kept by him; addition and removal of names.
The list so prepared shall be delivered to the clerk of the court to be safely kept by him. The list shall include a notation indicating those persons who are freeholders. The judge may from time to time order the commissioners to add to the list such additional number of jurors as the court shall direct and to strike therefrom any who have become disqualified or exempt.
§ 8.01-347. How names put in jury box.
When such list is made out, the commissioners shall cause all the names thereon to be fairly written, each on a separate paper or ballot, and shall so fold or roll up the ballots that they will resemble each other as nearly as may be and the names written thereon will not be visible on the outside, and shall deposit the ballots with the list in a secure box prepared for that purpose. Such box shall be locked and safely kept by the clerk of such court and opened only by the direction of the judge thereof.
§ 8.01-348. How names of jurors drawn from box.
Prior to or during any term of court at which a jury may be necessary, the clerk or deputy clerk, in the presence of the judge or, in his absence, a commissioner in chancery appointed for the purpose by the judge, shall, after thoroughly mixing the ballots in the box, openly draw therefrom such number of ballots as are necessary for the trial of all cases during the term or as the judge shall direct. However, a commissioner shall not be eligible to witness the drawing of a jury to be used in the trial of any case in which he will be interested as attorney or otherwise.
§ 8.01-349. Notations on ballots drawn; return to box; when such ballots may be drawn again.
If any ballot drawn from the box shall bear the name of a person known by the clerk or other person attending the drawing to be deceased, exempt or disqualified by law, not a resident of the county or city, or physically or mentally incapacitated for jury service, an appropriate notation on the ballot, as well as opposite the name of such person on the jury list, shall be made and the ballot shall be placed by the clerk in an envelope kept for that purpose. The other ballots, marked “drawn,” shall be placed in a separate envelope and a notation of the date of the drawing shall be made on the jury list opposite the name of each juror drawn. The envelope shall be kept in the box. After all ballots have been drawn from the box, the ballots marked “drawn” may be again drawn subject to the provisions hereof applying to the original drawing.
Repealed by Acts 1977, c. 451.
§ 8.01-336. Jury trial of right; waiver of jury trial; court-ordered jury trial; trial by jury of plea in equity; equitable claim.