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Statutes

The following Florida Statutes, listed in numerical order, are relevant to the issues of jury selection in Florida State Courts:

CIVIL STATUTES 

40.01 Qualifications of jurors.–Jurors shall be taken from the male and female persons at least 18 years of age who are citizens of the United States and legal residents of this state and their respective counties and who possess a driver’s license or identification card issued by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles pursuant to chapter 322 or who have executed the affidavit prescribed in s. 40.011.

40.013 Persons disqualified or excused from jury service.

(1) No person who is under prosecution for any crime, or who has been convicted in this state, any federal court, or any other state, territory, or country of bribery, forgery, perjury, larceny, or any other offense that is a felony in this state or which if it had been committed in this state would be a felony, unless restored to civil rights, shall be qualified to serve as a juror.

(2)(a) Neither the Governor, nor Lieutenant Governor, nor any Cabinet officer, nor clerk of court, or judge shall be qualified to be a juror. (b) Any full-time federal, state, or local law enforcement officer or such entities’ investigative personnel shall be excused from jury service unless such persons choose to serve.

(3) No person interested in any issue to be tried therein shall be a juror in any cause; but no person shall be disqualified from sitting in the trial of any suit in which the state or any county or municipal corporation is a party by reason of the fact that such person is a resident or taxpayer within the state or such county or municipal corporation.

(4) Any expectant mother and any parent who is not employed full time and who has custody of a child under 6 years of age, upon request, shall be excused from jury service.

(5) A presiding judge may, in his or her discretion, excuse a practicing attorney, a practicing physician, or a person who is physically infirm from jury service, except that no person shall be excused from service on a civil trial jury solely on the basis that the person is deaf or hearing impaired, if that person wishes to serve, unless the presiding judge makes a finding that consideration of the evidence to be presented requires auditory discrimination or that the timely progression of the trial will be considerably affected thereby. However, nothing in this subsection shall affect a litigant’s right to exercise a peremptory challenge.

(6) A person may be excused from jury service upon a showing of hardship, extreme inconvenience, or public necessity.

(7) A person who was summoned and who reported as a prospective juror in any court in that person’s county of residence within 1 year before the first day for which the person is being considered for jury service is exempt from jury service for 1 year from the last day of service.

(8) A person 70 years of age or older shall be excused from jury service upon request. A person 70 years of age or older may also be permanently excused from jury service upon written request. A person who is permanently excused from jury service may subsequently request, in writing, to be included in future jury lists provided such person meets the qualifications required by this chapter.

(9) Any person who is responsible for the care of a person who, because of mental illness, mental retardation, senility, or other physical or mental incapacity, is incapable of caring for himself or herself shall be excused from jury service upon request.

40.24 Compensation and reimbursement policy.-

(1) The compensation policy of this chapter shall be to prevent financial hardship being imposed upon any juror because of performance of juror service.

(2) Juror service constitutes being summoned and reporting for jury service as well as actual service on a jury. Juror service does not include days for which the juror was notified before reporting that his or her presence was not required. Regular employment includes full-time employment and part-time, temporary, and casual employment, as long as the employment hours of a juror can be reasonably determined by a schedule or by custom and practice established during the 3-month period preceding the term of service as a juror.

(3)(a) Jurors who are regularly employed and who continue to receive regular wages while serving as a juror are not entitled to receive compensation from the state for the first 3 days of juror service. (b) Jurors who are not regularly employed or who do not continue to receive regular wages while serving as a juror are entitled to receive $15 per day for the first 3 days of juror service.

(4) Each juror who serves more than 3 days is entitled to be paid by the state for the fourth day of service and each day thereafter at the rate of $30 per day of service.

(5) Jurors are not entitled to additional reimbursement by the state for travel or other out-of-pocket expenses.

(6) A juror who receives unemployment benefits does not lose such benefits because he or she receives compensation for juror service.

(7) Any juror who is excused from jury service at his or her own request is not entitled to receive any compensation under subsection (3).

(8) In circuits that elect to allow jurors to donate their jury service fee upon conclusion of juror service, each juror may irrevocably donate all of the juror’s compensation to the 26 U.S.C. s. 501(c)(3) organization specified by the guardian ad litem program or to a domestic violence shelter as specified annually on a rotating basis by the clerk of court in the circuit for the juror’s county of residence. The funds collected may not reduce or offset the amount of compensation that the guardian ad litem program or domestic violence shelter would otherwise receive from the state. The clerk of court shall ensure that all jurors are given written notice at the conclusion of their service that they have the option to so donate their compensation, and that the applicable program specified by the guardian ad litem program or a domestic violence shelter receives all funds donated by the jurors. Any guardian ad litem program receiving donations of juror compensation must expend such moneys on services for children for whom guardians ad litem have been appointed.

40.271 Jury service.

(1) No person summoned to serve on any grand or petit jury in this state, or accepted to serve on any grand or petit jury in this state, shall be dismissed from employment for any cause because of the nature or length of service upon such jury.

(2) Threats of dismissal from employment for any cause, by an employer or his or her agent to any person summoned for jury service in this state, because of the nature or length of service upon such jury may be deemed a contempt of the court from which the summons issued.

(3) A civil action by the individual who has been dismissed may be brought in the courts of this state for any violation of this section, and said individual shall be entitled to collect not only compensatory damages, but, in addition thereto, punitive damages and reasonable attorney fees for violation of this act.

40.50 Jury duty and instructions in civil cases.–

(1) In any civil action immediately after the jury is sworn, the court shall instruct the jury concerning its duties, its conduct, the order of proceedings, the procedure for submitting written questions of witnesses, and the legal issues involved in the proceeding.

(2) In any civil action which the court determines is likely to exceed 5 days, the court shall instruct that the jurors may take notes regarding the evidence and keep the notes to refresh their memories and to use during recesses and deliberations. The court may provide materials suitable for this purpose. The court should emphasize the confidentiality of the notes. After the jury has rendered its verdict, any notes shall be collected by the bailiff or clerk who shall promptly destroy them.

(3) The court shall permit jurors to submit to the court written questions directed to witnesses or to the court. The court shall give counsel an opportunity to object to such questions outside the presence of the jury. The court may, as appropriate, limit the submission of questions to witnesses.

(4) The court shall instruct the jury that any questions directed to witnesses or the court must be in writing, unsigned, and given to the bailiff. If the court determines that the juror’s question calls for admissible evidence, the question may be asked by court or counsel in the court’s discretion. Such question may be answered by stipulation or other appropriate means, including, but not limited to, additional testimony upon such terms and limitations as the court prescribes. If the court determines that the juror’s question calls for inadmissible evidence, the question shall not be read or answered. If the court rejects a juror’s question, the court should tell the jury that trial rules do not permit some questions and that the jurors should not attach any significance to the failure of having their question asked.

(5) The court may give final instructions to the jury before closing arguments of counsel to enhance jurors’ ability to apply the law to the facts. In that event, the court may withhold giving the necessary procedural and housekeeping instructions until after closing arguments.

CRIMINAL STATUTES 

913.03 Grounds for challenge to individual jurors for cause.–A challenge for cause to an individual juror may be made only on the following grounds:

(1) The juror does not have the qualifications required by law;

(2) The juror is of unsound mind or has a bodily defect that renders him or her incapable of performing the duties of a juror, except that, in a civil action, deafness or hearing impairment shall not be the sole basis of a challenge for cause of an individual juror;

(3) The juror has conscientious beliefs that would preclude him or her from finding the defendant guilty;

(4) The juror served on the grand jury that found the indictment or on a coroner’s jury that inquired into the death of a person whose death is the subject of the indictment or information;

(5) The juror served on a jury formerly sworn to try the defendant for the same offense;

(6) The juror served on a jury that tried another person for the offense charged in the indictment, information, or affidavit;

(7) The juror served as a juror in a civil action brought against the defendant for the act charged as an offense;

(8) The juror is an adverse party to the defendant in a civil action, or has complained against or been accused by the defendant in a criminal prosecution;

(9) The juror is related by blood or marriage within the third degree to the defendant, the attorneys of either party, the person alleged to be injured by the offense charged, or the person on whose complaint the prosecution was instituted;

(10) The juror has a state of mind regarding the defendant, the case, the person alleged to have been injured by the offense charged, or the person on whose complaint the prosecution was instituted that will prevent the juror from acting with impartiality, but the formation of an opinion or impression regarding the guilt or innocence of the defendant shall not be a sufficient ground for challenge to a juror if he or she declares and the court determines that he or she can render an impartial verdict according to the evidence;

(11) The juror was a witness for the state or the defendant at the preliminary hearing or before the grand jury or is to be a witness for either party at the trial;

(12) The juror is a surety on defendant’s bail bond in the case.

913.08 Number of peremptory challenges.

(1) The state and the defendant shall each be allowed the following number of peremptory challenges: (a) Ten, if the offense charged is punishable by death or imprisonment for life; (b) Six, if the offense charged is punishable by imprisonment for more than 12 months but is not punishable by death or imprisonment for life; (c) Three, for all other offenses.

(2) If two or more defendants are tried jointly, each defendant shall be allowed the number of peremptory challenges specified in subsection (1), and the state shall be allowed as many challenges as are allowed to all of the defendants.

913.10 Number of jurors.–Twelve persons shall constitute a jury to try all capital cases, and six persons shall constitute a jury to try all other criminal cases.

913.12 Qualifications of jurors.–The qualifications of jurors in criminal cases shall be the same as their qualifications in civil cases.

913.13 Jurors in capital cases.–A person who has beliefs which preclude her or him from finding a defendant guilty of an offense punishable by death shall not be qualified as a juror in a capital case.