PUBLIC ACTS, 2008
PUBLIC CHAPTER NO. 1159
HOUSE BILL NO. 3638
By Representative Coleman
Substituted for: Senate Bill No. 3839
By Senator Bunch
AN ACT to amend Tennessee Code Annotated, Section 7-38-104; Section 8-8-
201; Title 22; Section 40-18-108; Section 58-1-228; Section 63-3-118; Section 63-5-123
and Section 63-8-117, relative to jury service.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF TENNESSEE:
SECTION 1. Tennessee Code Annotated, Title 22, is amended by deleting it in its entirety and substituting the following: Section 22-1-101.
It is policy of this state that all qualified citizens have an obligation to serve on petit juries or grand juries when summoned by the courts of this state, unless excused. Every person eighteen (18) years of age, being a citizen of the United States, and a resident of the state of Tennessee, and of the county in which the person may be summoned for jury service for a period of twelve (12) months next preceding the date of such summons, is legally qualified to act as a grand or petit juror, if not otherwise incompetent under the express provisions of the code.
The following persons are incompetent to act as jurors:
(1) Persons convicted of a felony or any other infamous offense in a court of competent jurisdiction; or
(2) Persons convicted of perjury or subornation of perjury.
(a) Any person may be excused from serving as a juror if the prospective juror has a mental or physical condition that causes that person to be incapable of performing jury service. The juror, or the juror's personal representative, must provide the court with documentation from a physician licensed to practice medicine verifying that a mental or physical condition renders the person unfit for jury service.
(b) Any person, when summoned to jury duty, may be excused upon a showing that such person's service will constitute an undue or extreme physical or financial hardship to the prospective juror or a person under the prospective juror's care or supervision.
(1) A judge of the court for which the prospective juror was called to jury service shall make undue or extreme physical or financial hardship determinations unless a judge of that court delegates this authority to the jury coordinator. In the event this authority is not delegated to the jury coordinator, a judge of the court may authorize the jury coordinator to make initial inquiries and recommendations concerning such requests.
(2) A person asking to be excused based on a finding of undue or extreme physical or financial hardship shall take all actions necessary to have obtained a ruling on that request by no later than the date on which the person is scheduled to appear for jury duty.
(3) For purposes of this section, "undue or extreme physical or financial hardship" is limited to circumstances in which a prospective juror would:
(A) Be required to abandon a person under such juror's personal care or supervision due to the impossibility of obtaining an appropriate substitute caregiver during the period of participation in the jury pool or on the jury;
(B) Incur costs that would have a substantial adverse impact on the payment of the juror's necessary daily living expenses or on those for whom such juror provides the principle means of support;
(C) Suffer physical hardship that would result in illness or disease; or
(D) Be deprived of compensation due to the fact that the prospective juror works out-of-state and the out-of- state employer is unwilling to compensate the juror pursuant to § 22-4-106 or that the prospective juror is employed by an employer who is not required to compensate jurors pursuant to § 22-4-106 and declines to do so voluntarily.
(4) Undue or extreme physical or financial hardship does not exist solely based on the fact that a prospective juror will be required to be absent from that prospective juror's place of employment.
(5) A person requesting an excuse based on undue or extreme physical or financial hardship shall be required to provide the judge with income tax returns, medical statements from licensed physicians, proof of dependency or guardianship, an affidavit stating that the person is unable to obtain an appropriate substitute caregiver during the period of participation in the jury pool or on the jury, or similar documentation which the judge finds to clearly support the request to be excused. Failure to provide satisfactory documentation may result in a denial of the request to be excused.
(c) Documents submitted pursuant to this section shall be maintained by the jury coordinator during the jury service term, but may be destroyed thereafter. These documents are not public records and shall not be disclosed, except pursuant to a court order. However, the jury coordinator shall maintain a list of members of the jury pool who were excused pursuant to this section, and such information shall be made available upon request.
(d) A person excused from jury service pursuant to this section becomes eligible for qualification as a juror following the period ordered by the court, which shall not exceed twenty-four (24) months. A person is excused from jury service permanently only when the deciding judge determines that the underlying grounds for being excused are of a permanent nature.
No person may act as a juror in any case in which the person is interested, or in which either of the parties is connected with the person by affinity or consanguinity, within the sixth degree, computed by the civil law, except by consent of all parties.