Monday, May 07, 2012

Ohio jury service reforms

The Ohio General Assembly back on February 21st. passed House Bill 268, reorganizing, modernize the language, and removing obsolete provisions from the state’s jury service law. [ Ohio Revised Code Chapter 2313 ]

The law goes into effect in two weeks, on Tuesday, May 22nd.

ORC Chapter 2313 establishes the office of commissioner of jurors and the procedures through which potential jurors are selected & summoned, obligations of jurors, the grounds for which jury service may be excused or postponed, and the compensation of jurors. HB 268 rearranges provisions of Chapter 2313 renumbering a number of sections and repealing others, although it retains much of the content of repealed sections. It also corrects cross-references to conform to the reorganization and adopts gender-neutral language where necessary. [ House Bill 268 Text & Analysis ]

The Legislative Service also notes that "much of the language that has simply been moved from one Revised Code section to another, either verbatim or amended to some degree," and includes a table of corresponding sections at the end of its analysis showing where provisions of prior law may be found in the act, if they have not been repealed altogether.

HB 268 requires county jury commissioners "to compile an annual jury source list from information provided by the Board of Elections and, at their discretion, from information provided by the Registrar of Motor Vehicles, as well as an annual jury list from which the names of potential jurors are drawn, but eliminates the requirement that a person who is not registered to vote must have a valid driver's license to serve as a juror."

It also eliminates language governing jury challenges based on misnomers, allows challenges to entire arrays based on violations of the nondiscrimination provision, and addresses juror privacy protection during voir dire by modifying the provision that allows a prospective juror to request an in-camera(closed to the public) hearing regarding questions presented to him/her.

No comments: