H522: Modify Service/Release of Alternate Jurors. Latest Version

AN ACT to modify the provisions regulating the service and release of alternate jurors.

The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

SECTION 1.  G.S. 15A‑1215(a) reads as rewritten:

(a)      The judge may permit the seating of one or more alternate jurors. Alternate jurors must be sworn and seated near the jury with equal opportunity to see and hear the proceedings. They must attend the trial at all times with the jury, and obey all orders and admonitions of the judge. When the jurors are ordered kept together, the alternate jurors must be kept with them. The court should ensure that the alternate jurors do not discuss the case with anyone until that alternate replaces a juror or is discharged. If before final submission of the case to the jury, at any time prior to a verdict being rendered, any juror dies, becomes incapacitated or disqualified, or is discharged for any other reason, an alternate juror becomes a juror, in the order in which selected, and serves in all respects as those selected on the regular trial panel. If an alternate juror replaces a juror after deliberations have begun, the court must instruct the jury to begin its deliberations anew. In no event shall more than 12 jurors participate in the jury's deliberations. Alternate jurors receive the same compensation as other jurors and, unless they become jurors, must be discharged upon the final submission of the case to the jury.in the same manner and at the same time as the original jury.

SECTION 2.  This act becomes effective October 1, 2021, and applies to jurors and alternate jurors selected on or after that date.