2020 Georgia Code
Title 15 - Courts
Chapter 12 - Juries
Article 5 - Trial Juries
Part 2 - Juries in Felony Cases
§ 15-12-163. Challenges for Cause; Hearing of Evidence; When Objection May Be Made

Universal Citation: GA Code § 15-12-163 (2020)
  1. When each juror is called, he shall be presented to the accused in such a manner that he can be distinctly seen.
  2. The state or the accused may make any of the following objections to the juror:
    1. That the juror is not a citizen, resident in the county;
    2. That the juror is under 18 years of age;
    3. That the juror is incompetent to serve because of mental illness or intellectual disability, or that the juror is intoxicated;
    4. That the juror is so near of kin to the prosecutor, the accused, or the victim as to disqualify the juror by law from serving on the jury;
    5. That the juror has been convicted of a felony in a federal court or any court of a state of the United States and the juror's civil rights have not been restored; or
    6. That the juror is unable to communicate in the English language.
  3. It shall be the duty of the court to hear immediately such evidence as is submitted in relation to the truth of these objections; the juror shall be a competent witness for this purpose. If the judge is satisfied of the truth of any objection, the juror shall be set aside for cause.

(Ga. L. 1855-56, p. 229, § 7; Code 1863, § 4568; Code 1868, § 4588; Code 1873, § 4681; Code 1882, § 4681; Penal Code 1895, § 973; Penal Code 1910, § 999; Code 1933, § 59-804; Ga. L. 1995, p. 1292, § 11; Ga. L. 2015, p. 385, § 4-15/HB 252.)

The 2015 amendment, effective July 1, 2015, substituted "intellectual disability" for "mental retardation" in the middle of paragraph (b)(3).

Law reviews.

- For article, "Practitioner's Note Jury Selection: Whose Job Is It, Anyway?," see 23 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 617 (2007). For annual survey of law on criminal law, see 62 Mercer L. Rev. 87 (2010).

JUDICIAL DECISIONS

ANALYSIS

  • General Consideration
  • Grounds for Challenge
General Consideration

Degree of relationship to disqualify a juror set by § 15-12-135. - Ga. L. 1935, p. 396, § 1 (see now O.C.G.A. § 15-12-135) neither repealed nor amended former Code 1933, § 59-804 (see now O.C.G.A. § 15-12-163); it merely did what the Supreme Court, in the absence of any statutory law on the subject, had previously done, that was, establish the degree of relationship which would disqualify a juror, and former Code 1933, § 59-804 was still in full force and effect. Davis v. State, 204 Ga. 467, 50 S.E.2d 604 (1948).

Juror serving at earlier session incompetent.

- Although service at a preceding court session rendered a juror ineligible, and thus incompetent, the juror's service was not grounds for a new trial, and the juror's service without challenge prevented the verdict from being set aside for cause. Jordan v. State, 119 Ga. 443, 46 S.E.2d 679 (1904).

Section applicable only in felony cases.

- Provisions of this section to the effect that on calling each juror the state or the accused may make either one of certain objections, including an objection based upon relationship, are applicable only in felony cases. Atlanta Coach Co. v. Cobb, 178 Ga. 544, 174 S.E. 131 (1934).

Challenges for principal cause are based on facts which automatically disqualify juror from serving. Jordan v. State, 247 Ga. 328, 276 S.E.2d 224 (1981).

Peremptory challenges are challenges to individual jurors but are not challenges for cause. Jordan v. State, 247 Ga. 328, 276 S.E.2d 224 (1981).

Disqualification waived if not raised promptly.

- When parties are furnished with a list of the jury, it is the parties duty, if the parties know that any of the jurors are disqualified, to call attention to the disqualification, or the disqualification will be held to have been waived; if the parties have reasonable grounds to suspect that any of the jurors are disqualified, it is the parties duty to call attention to the fact so that due inquiry may be made of the panel. Kennedy v. State, 191 Ga. 22, 11 S.E.2d 179 (1940).

Failure to object waives objection to familial relationship.

- If defense counsel was present during the entire voir dire, yet failed to object to the trial judge's failure to qualify prospective jurors as to potential familial relation to the deceased victim, a ground for a challenge for cause under O.C.G.A. § 15-12-163, this inaction was a waiver and constitutes induced error. McKenzie v. State, 248 Ga. 294, 282 S.E.2d 95 (1981), overruled on other grounds, O'Kelley v. State, 284 Ga. 758, 670 S.E.2d 388 (2008).

Challenge to nonresident juror must be presented before verdict.

- Verdict finding the defendant guilty of murder, without a recommendation, could not be set aside on the ground that one of the jurors was a nonresident of the state at the time of the trial, if no challenge was presented before the verdict, even though the movant did not know of such fact until after the verdict. Trammell v. State, 183 Ga. 711, 189 S.E. 529 (1937).

Trial court not required to question juror.

- Since the trial court was not required to make further inquiry of a juror who disclosed that the juror held a preconceived notion concerning a witness that was not beneficial to the defense after defense counsel "rested his case" for excusal for cause, the trial court did not err when the court did not independently question the juror. Poole v. State, 291 Ga. 848, 734 S.E.2d 1 (2012).

Presentation of jurors to defendant.

- Trial court did not err in refusing defendant's request to have prospective jurors present during the striking of the jury; defendant had ample opportunity to question and observe each juror during voir dire. Martin v. State, 205 Ga. App. 591, 422 S.E.2d 876, cert. denied, 205 Ga. App. 900, 422 S.E.2d 876 (1992).

Cited in Simmons v. State, 73 Ga. 609, 54 Am. R. 885 (1884); Herndon v. State, 178 Ga. 832, 174 S.E. 597 (1934); Georgia Power Co. v. Watts, 184 Ga. 135, 190 S.E. 654 (1937); Merrell v. State, 135 Ga. App. 699, 218 S.E.2d 458 (1975); Jones v. State, 137 Ga. App. 612, 224 S.E.2d 473 (1976); Jones v. State, 139 Ga. App. 824, 229 S.E.2d 789 (1976); Foster v. State, 240 Ga. 858, 242 S.E.2d 600 (1978); Drake v. State, 241 Ga. 583, 247 S.E.2d 57 (1978); Green v. State, 246 Ga. 598, 272 S.E.2d 475 (1980); Hughes v. State, 161 Ga. App. 824, 288 S.E.2d 916 (1982); Najmaister v. State, 196 Ga. App. 345, 396 S.E.2d 71 (1990); Rower v. State, 219 Ga. App. 865, 466 S.E.2d 897 (1995); Cheeks v. State, 234 Ga. App. 446, 507 S.E.2d 204 (1998).

Grounds for Challenge

1. In General

County citizenship not required.

- This section does not state any length of time that juror must be citizen of county. Thomas v. State, 27 Ga. 287 (1859).

Trial court determined under O.C.G.A. § 15-12-163(c) that a juror who had recently moved from the county was competent to serve, and defendant presented no evidence to contradict this finding; even if counsel's failure to object could be deemed ineffective representation, the defendant did not show that the deficiency prejudiced the defense. Lawson v. State, 278 Ga. App. 852, 630 S.E.2d 131 (2006).

Prospective juror not a resident of county.

- Trial court did not abuse the court's discretion when the court determined that the first dismissed prospective juror was not a resident of Jeff Davis County because the prospective juror testified to living in Appling County, that the prospective juror was continuing to store some possessions in Jeff Davis County only because the prospective juror had not yet secured permanent housing in Appling County, and that the prospective juror intended to live permanently in Appling County. Carter v. State, 302 Ga. 685, 808 S.E.2d 704 (2017).

Proof that juror is not naturalized is required if juror was born in foreign country. Jordan v. State, 22 Ga. 545 (1857); Johnson v. State, 58 Ga. 491 (1877).

Residence is a matter of election if juror's house is on county line. Chancey v. State, 141 Ga. 54, 80 S.E. 287 (1913).

Temporary absence is not change of domicile. Dasher v. State, 113 Ga. 3, 38 S.E. 348 (1901).

Waiver of underage juror.

- It is too late after verdict to except to service of juror on ground that juror was underage at time of verdict. Shirley v. State, 146 Ga. 9, 90 S.E. 277 (1916).

Fact that juror over age is no ground for a challenge to cause. Staten v. State, 141 Ga. 82, 80 S.E. 850 (1913); Thomas v. State, 144 Ga. 298, 87 S.E. 8 (1915).

Exemption by reason of being over age is privilege, not disqualification. Albany Phosphate Co. v. Hugger Bros., 4 Ga. App. 771, 62 S.E. 533 (1908).

If court is satisfied from inspection that juror is drunk the court may set juror aside of the court's own motion. Thomas v. State, 27 Ga. 287 (1859); Wall v. State, 126 Ga. 549, 55 S.E. 484 (1906).

Juror not on regular list.

- It is error to overrule challenge to juror whose name does not appear on regular jury list. Faulkner v. Snead, 122 Ga. 28, 49 S.E. 747 (1905).

Misstating juror's name is not ground for challenge for cause. Chapman v. State, 18 Ga. 736 (1855); Ratteree v. State, 53 Ga. 570 (1875); Central R.R. & Banking Co. v. Gamble, 77 Ga. 584, 3 S.E. 287 (1886).

Jurors known by parties to be prospective witnesses about matters material to the case should be excused for cause on proper motion. Lively v. State, 262 Ga. 510, 421 S.E.2d 528 (1992), overruled on other grounds Willis v. State, 2018 Ga. LEXIS 685 (Ga. 2018).

Juror may have same profession as party.

- Road overseer may be juror at trial for assault on another road overseer. Rowe v. State, 15 Ga. App. 660, 84 S.E. 132 (1915).

Signing petition requesting that defendant be tried at special term not disqualification. Hicks v. State, 126 Ga. 80, 54 S.E. 807 (1906).

Jury service by convicted felon.

- There is no statute specifically prohibiting jury service by one who has been convicted of a felony. Bennett v. State, 262 Ga. 149, 414 S.E.2d 218 (1992), cert. denied, 505 U.S. 1225, 113 S. Ct. 416, 121 L. Ed. 2d 340 (1992).

Although the state notified the defendant and the trial court soon after trial that two jurors were convicted felons, because there was no evidence establishing the identity of either juror, documenting the convictions, or showing that either had not had their rights restored, the defendant's due process rights were not violated; thus, denial of a motion for new trial on this ground was proper. Jones v. State, 289 Ga. App. 767, 658 S.E.2d 386 (2008).

Trial court did not err in striking a juror for cause based on a prior felony conviction that the juror failed to disclose when the juror's civil rights had not been restored because the state found a Florida felony conviction matching the juror's name and month and day of birth, but not the year; some of the physical descriptions contained in the Florida records corresponded to the juror; although the juror denied that the juror had a felony conviction in Florida, the juror admitted that the juror had been to Florida at some point; and the erroneous allowing of a challenge for cause afforded no ground of complaint as the defendant did not even attempt to show that the defendant's actual jury was not competent and unbiased. Stephens v. State, Ga. , S.E.2d (Aug. 10, 2020).

When conviction of crime a disqualification.

- One who has been convicted or has pled guilty to offense involving moral turpitude is disqualified from serving as a juror. Williams v. State, 12 Ga. App. 337, 77 S.E. 189 (1913).

Trial court did not err by striking for cause a juror who stated that the juror had a burglary and two drug-related convictions but who could not say whether or not the juror's civil rights had been restored. Smith v. State, 277 Ga. 213, 586 S.E.2d 639 (2003), cert. denied, 541 U.S. 1032, 124 S. Ct. 2101, 158 L. Ed. 2d 715 (2004), overruled on other grounds by State v. Lane, 2020 Ga. LEXIS 98 (Ga. 2020).

First offender treatment is not "conviction" for purposes of serving on a jury.

- Prospective petit juror serving a sentence under the First Offender Act, O.C.G.A. § 42-8-60 et seq., had not been "convicted" within the meaning of O.C.G.A. § 15-12-163(b)(5), which allowed either the state or the accused to object to the seating of a juror who had been convicted of a felony; the trial court therefore erred in disqualifying the juror for cause. Humphreys v. State, 287 Ga. 63, 694 S.E.2d 316, cert. denied, 131 S. Ct. 599, 178 L. Ed. 2d 438 (2010), overruled in part by Willis v. State, 304 Ga. 686, 820 S.E.2d 640 (2018).

Opposition to death penalty.

- Trial court did not err by excusing jurors who expressed a conscientious objection to the death penalty; to the extent that this contention was not rendered moot because the defendant did not receive the death penalty, it lacked merit as a trial court did not abuse the court's discretion by excusing jurors in a death penalty case who indicated that the jurors were wholly opposed to the death penalty under any circumstances. Thomason v. State, 281 Ga. 429, 637 S.E.2d 639 (2006).

Mere conviction of federal crime not disqualification.

- One who has been convicted of a felony, or a crime involving an intent to defraud, in a federal court is not thereby rendered disqualified to serve as a juror in a court of this state, there being no statute declaring such disqualification. Brady v. State, 199 Ga. 566, 34 S.E.2d 849 (1945).

Juror who signed defendant's bail bond removed for cause.

- Juror was removed for cause after one of the juror's had signed defendant's bail bond which was interfering with the panel coming to a unanimous decision, although the state had not objected to the juror until deliberations began and had not offered proof that the juror had unfairly affected the other juror's deliberations. Hart v. State, 157 Ga. App. 716, 278 S.E.2d 419 (1981).

Juror who was victim of crime.

- In a prosecution for armed robbery, forgery, and driving with a suspended license, the fact that a juror previously had a social security check stolen was not grounds for a challenge for cause. Smith v. State, 234 Ga. App. 586, 506 S.E.2d 406 (1998).

Magistrate not dismissed for cause.

- Mere fact that a juror might happen to be a magistrate would be no objection to the juror's qualification as a juror, and, in fact, the intelligence and personal character of these magistrates is such as ordinarily to render the magistrates peculiarly qualified for jury service. Jackson v. State, 202 Ga. App. 237, 414 S.E.2d 263 (1991), cert. denied, 202 Ga. App. 905, 414 S.E.2d 263 (1992).

Challenges for cause properly denied.

- Trial court did not err in not excluding three venirepersons for cause when one venireperson's sister-in-law had been formerly married to the victim's brother, when one venireperson's father was the elected county sheriff, and when another venireperson's mother was a victim-witness coordinator and his girlfriend an assistant district attorney; the defendant had not shown that any of them was biased or improperly related. Stokes v. State, 281 Ga. 825, 642 S.E.2d 82 (2007), overruled on other grounds by State v. Lane, 2020 Ga. LEXIS 98 (Ga. 2020).

Trial court did not err in declining to excuse three jurors for cause when one juror had two nieces who had been sexually abused 15 to 20 years before in another state, one juror had been robbed at gunpoint at a bank nine years before, and one juror had worked for a bank in Washington State that had been robbed four times a long time before. None had a personal connection to anyone in the defendant's case, and all stated that they could be fair and impartial. Fencil v. State, 288 Ga. App. 612, 654 S.E.2d 472 (2007).

Trial court did not abuse the court's discretion in refusing to strike a juror for cause because the juror could not be considered a party at interest but had, at most, an ongoing business relationship with the district attorney's office since the juror was only a consultant or contractor to the district attorney's office; the trial court was entitled to rely on the juror's responses to voir dire in determining qualifications. Berry v. State, 302 Ga. App. 31, 690 S.E.2d 428 (2010), cert. denied, No. S10C0825, 2010 Ga. LEXIS 459 (Ga. 2010).

Defendant's convictions for aggravated child molestation were proper because there was no error in the trial court's denial of the defendant's motion to strike a prospective juror since the juror's testimony did not show that the juror had an opinion or bias that would disqualify the juror as a matter of law under O.C.G.A. § 15-12-163. Rather, the record showed that although the prospective juror was troubled by the emotional aspects of the case involving sexual offenses against a child, the juror would be able to put the juror's emotions aside and decide the case based on the evidence. Cwikla v. State, 313 Ga. App. 526, 722 S.E.2d 156 (2012).

Juror employed as security guard.

- Trial court did not err in refusing to strike for cause a juror who apparently was employed as a private security guard. The decision which held that police officers, employed full-time, must be excused if challenged for cause in criminal cases was inapplicable to this case. Dixon v. State, 180 Ga. App. 222, 348 S.E.2d 742 (1986).

Excluding student scheduled to take exams.

- If error was assigned on the failure to excuse a juror for cause, a student who indicated the student was going to have two exams later that week, one on Wednesday and one on Friday, and the trial commenced on Monday and concluded on Tuesday, there was no showing that the student's impartiality would be, or was, in any way affected by such circumstances; and there being no basis for disqualification under O.C.G.A. § 15-12-163 or O.C.G.A. § 15-12-164, the trial court did not abuse the court's discretion by failing to remove the juror. Robinson v. State, 180 Ga. App. 248, 348 S.E.2d 761 (1986).

Juror serving at earlier session.

- Although service at a preceding court session rendered a juror ineligible, and thus incompetent, the juror's service was not grounds for a new trial, and the juror's service without challenge prevented the verdict from being set aside for cause. Jordan v. Smith, 119 Ga. 443, 46 S.E. 679 (1904).

Voir dire.

- Defendant's conviction for aggravated assault was affirmed because the prosecutor was required to mention the defendant's name during voir dire, pursuant to O.C.G.A. §§ 15-12-163(b)(4) and15-12-164(a)(2), to see if any of the jurors knew the defendant. Thus, there was no ground for a mistrial. Alexander v. State, 264 Ga. App. 251, 590 S.E.2d 233 (2003).

Personal knowledge of juror in sexual molestation case.

- Although the juror was troubled by the emotional aspects of deciding a case involving sexual offenses against a child because the juror had recently learned that the children of a friend had been sexually molested by a relative, the trial court did not abuse the court's discretion in failing to remove the juror for cause. Garland v. State, 263 Ga. 495, 435 S.E.2d 431 (1993).

Comprehension of English.

- Trial court did not err in not striking two jurors for cause on the ground that the jurors could not communicate in English under O.C.G.A. § 15-12-163(b) when the court found that one juror showed no difficulty and was apparently trying to use concerns about language to get off the jury; the other's English was clear and the juror complained only about understanding legal terms. Ford v. State, 289 Ga. App. 865, 658 S.E.2d 428 (2008).

Trial court did not abuse the court's discretion by refusing to excuse a prospective juror for cause under O.C.G.A. § 15-12-163(b)(6) due to the juror's concerns about the juror's ability to speak and understand English. The juror was questioned about the juror's asserted language difficulties, and the trial court found that the juror's speech and comprehension were good. Abdullah v. State, 284 Ga. 399, 667 S.E.2d 584 (2008).

When asked by the court whether the juror could perform the duty of a juror, the juror stated that the juror could; thus, the trial court did not err by denying appellants' challenge for cause of a juror the appellants' contended could not speak English because the juror admitted that the juror "missed a few things" even though the juror was paying attention. Overton v. State, 295 Ga. App. 223, 671 S.E.2d 507 (2008), cert. denied, No. S09C0654, 2009 Ga. LEXIS 212 (Ga. 2009).

Trial court did not abuse the court's discretion in denying defendant's motion to strike for cause a prospective juror who lacked English language proficiency because the trial judge remarked that the judge believed the juror was qualified and had a "pretty good vocabulary," and the juror understood "just about everything defense counsel said, including some words that were not particularly simple, straightforward kind of words." Gonzalez v. State, 299 Ga. App. 777, 683 S.E.2d 878 (2009).

Trial court did not err in striking a juror for cause because the juror said that the juror understood 90 percent of what was said, but that English was not the juror's native language and that the juror did not understand some of the legal terminology that had been used, and because the trial court determined that the jurors needed to understand 100 percent of the proceedings. Bianchi v. State, 327 Ga. App. 440, 759 S.E.2d 536 (2014).

Juror with hearing difficulties.

- Trial court did not abuse the court's discretion by failing to remove a juror based on defendant's contention that the juror was unable to hear. Carter v. State, 228 Ga. App. 335, 491 S.E.2d 525 (1997).

Trial court did not err in ruling that the state could use one of the state's peremptory strikes to remove a juror whom the prosecutor regarded as disabled because of the juror's hearing difficulties. Hill v. Duncan, 249 Ga. App. 342, 548 S.E.2d 83 (2001).

Trial court did not err in not striking for cause a juror with a hearing difficulty; juror, whose difficulty was mostly in one ear, agreed to use amplified headphones if selected, and the juror also responded to almost all questions asked with no apparent difficulty. Ford v. State, 289 Ga. App. 865, 658 S.E.2d 428 (2008).

Mental illness or mental retardation.

- Simple fact that an individual makes one visit - or multiple visits - to a psychiatrist does not per se disqualify that individual from jury service due to mental illness. Bolick v. State, 244 Ga. App. 567, 536 S.E.2d 242 (2000).

Trial court did not err by refusing to allow the defendant to pose a general question to the entire jury panel on voir dire as to whether anyone on the panel had ever been treated for any type of mental illness because the court agreed that defense counsel had the right during individual questioning to explore any concerns which might arise regarding the mental health of a potential juror. Caldwell v. State, 249 Ga. App. 885, 549 S.E.2d 449 (2001).

Prospective juror's excuse for cause under O.C.G.A. § 15-12-163(b)(3) and (c) was not an abuse of discretion since: (1) the juror had been previously treated for schizophrenia and other mental health problems; (2) the juror exhibited bizarre behavior while waiting to be questioned on voir dire; (3) the juror's answers to voir dire questions were often disconnected and rambling; and (4) the trial court consulted with the juror's doctor, who opined in writing that the juror was mentally ill and incapable of serving on a jury. Sallie v. State, 276 Ga. 506, 578 S.E.2d 444, cert. denied, 540 U.S. 902, 124 S. Ct. 251, 157 L. Ed. 2d 185 (2003).

2. Disqualifying Relationships

Paragraph (b)(4) is based upon doctrine that juror would naturally favor kinsman. Wright v. Smith, 104 Ga. 174, 30 S.E. 651 (1898); Temples v. Central of Ga. Ry., 15 Ga. App. 115, 82 S.E. 777 (1914).

Relationship which disqualifies juror is relationship by consanguinity; the relationship by affinity extends only to the husband or wife of such blood kin. Pope v. State, 52 Ga. App. 411, 183 S.E. 630 (1936).

Relationship to prosecutor ground for new trial.

- If it appears that a juror is related within the prohibited degree to the prosecutor, the law declares the disqualification; and if such relation is unknown to the accused until after the verdict, a new trial will be granted. Harris v. State, 188 Ga. 745, 4 S.E.2d 651 (1939).

DFCS worker not disqualified.

- During voir dire, after the defendant made a motion to disqualify for cause a juror who was the daughter of a DFCS worker involved in the case, the court ruled this was not cause for disqualification because the worker was seated at the table with the prosecutor during jury selection, but did not testify or otherwise participate in the trial. McLelland v. State, 203 Ga. App. 93, 416 S.E.2d 340, cert. denied, 203 Ga. App. 907, 416 S.E.2d 340 (1992).

Persons related to prosecutor disqualified.

- Juror whose brother married the sister of the prosecutor's wife did not thereby become related to prosecutor so as to be disqualified. Lemming v. State, 61 Ga. App. 605, 7 S.E.2d 42 (1940).

Acquaintance with family members.

- Trial court did not improperly seat six jurors in a death penalty case as: (1) the first juror testified that, despite the juror's acquaintance with the victim's family, the juror could act impartially, listen to the evidence, and decide the case based upon the facts and arguments; (2) a second juror stated that the juror's acquaintance with a family member of the victim would have no bearing on the juror's consideration of the case; and (3) four jurors testified that the juror could fairly consider all possible punishments for the crime, not just the death penalty. Thomason v. State, 281 Ga. 429, 637 S.E.2d 639 (2006).

Person who swears out a warrant against a criminal defendant is the "prosecutor" for purposes of jury selection; therefore, that person's spouse should be disqualified. McKee v. State, 168 Ga. App. 214, 308 S.E.2d 574 (1983).

Kin of person who swore out warrant against criminal defendant.

- Member of the venire who stated the member was a third cousin of the man who swore out the affidavit for the warrant for defendant's arrest should have been dismissed for cause, and the trial court committed reversible error when the court refused to disqualify the member. Howard v. State, 191 Ga. App. 418, 382 S.E.2d 159 (1989), overruled on other grounds by Willis v. State, 2018 Ga. LEXIS 685 (Ga. 2018).

Because there was no marriage between the defendant and the mother of his children, a legal relationship by affinity was never created; accordingly, the defendant and a juror who was a second cousin to the mother of the defendant's children were not related by affinity, and the juror was not disqualified by her kinship pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 15-12-163(b)(4). Wilmore v. State, 268 Ga. App. 646, 602 S.E.2d 343 (2004).

Application if relationship is to unindicted coconspirator.

- Rule of law that disqualifies a juror if the juror is related within the prohibited degree to a prosecutor or to one of the defendants in a joint indictment applies in principle in a case when a conspiracy is alleged to exist between two persons, although only one is indicted and on trial. Harris v. State, 188 Ga. 745, 4 S.E.2d 651 (1939).

Juror related to stockholder in insolvent bank disqualified.

- On the trial of an officer of an insolvent bank, a juror who is related within the prohibited degrees to a stockholder or depositor in the insolvent bank is disqualified. Fordham v. State, 148 Ga. 758, 98 S.E. 267 (1919).

Kin of prosecutor, accused, or victim.

- Juror who was the daughter of the arresting officer is not disqualified from sitting on the jury for principal cause even though the officer was a potential witness because the disqualification statute applies only to the near kin of the prosecutor, defendant, or victim. Jones v. State, 184 Ga. App. 4, 360 S.E.2d 599 (1987).

Trial court did not err in denying a new trial based on a juror's failure to disclose the juror's former marriage 20 years earlier to the victim's first cousin. Scott v. State, 274 Ga. 153, 549 S.E.2d 338 (2001), cert. denied, 535 U.S. 929, 122 S. Ct. 1301, 152 L. Ed. 2d 212 (2002).

Defendant waived juror's disqualification of kinship to victim.

- Trial court was authorized to find that a defendant waived the disqualification of a juror based on that juror's familial relation to the victim of the crimes for which the defendant was convicted as the defendant did not offer any evidence that the defendant did not know of, and could not have discovered, the juror's disqualifying relationship. Although the juror testified at the hearing on the defendant's motion for a new trial that the juror only learned that the juror's uncle was the victim's grandfather after the juror's service was complete, the juror's ignorance of the relationship was not probative of whether the defendant knew, or through the exercise of ordinary diligence could have discovered, the relationship. Moran v. State, 293 Ga. App. 279, 666 S.E.2d 726 (2008).

Business relationship.

- Trial court erred in not striking for cause potential jurors who had a business relationship with the corporation which was the victim of the burglary in issue and the employer of the victim of the armed robbery in issue, and trial counsel was ineffective for failing to have the shareholders of the victim corporation removed for cause. Kirkland v. State, 274 Ga. 778, 560 S.E.2d 6 (2002).

Trial court properly excluded a juror who was a cousin of the defendant and a relative of one of the defendant's grandparents who testified at the trial; even if the juror's statements about the particular degrees of consanguinity were vague, it was within the trial court's discretion to exclude the juror whether or not the test of O.C.G.A. § 15-12-135(a) was met. Paige v. State, 281 Ga. 504, 639 S.E.2d 478 (2007).

Step-uncle of victim not disqualified.

- If prospective juror's brother was the step-father of the victim and, thus, the prospective juror was the step-uncle of the victim, the victim and the brother of the prospective juror were certainly related but the victim and the prospective juror were not related within any prohibited degree. Day v. State, 188 Ga. App. 648, 374 S.E.2d 87 (1988), overruled on other grounds by Willis v. State, 2018 Ga. LEXIS 685 (Ga. 2018).

Relationship among jurors not a disqualification.

- Juror who was the father and employer of another juror was not disqualified from serving on the jury. Bryant v. State, 268 Ga. 664, 492 S.E.2d 868 (1997).

Lack of knowledge of relationship does not relieve disqualification.

- Juror who is related within the sixth degree of consanguinity or affinity to the prosecutor is disqualified by the fact of relationship and the fact that the juror did not know of the relationship or that the juror's kinsman was a prosecutor does not relieve the disqualification. Harris v. State, 188 Ga. 745, 4 S.E.2d 651 (1939).

Juror's own opinion as to bias.

- Juror may be found disqualified because of a relationship with a party, even though the juror insists the juror is not biased; therefore, the juror's opinion of the juror's qualification is by no means determinative. Lively v. State, 262 Ga. 510, 421 S.E.2d 528 (1992), overruled on other grounds Willis v. State, 2018 Ga. LEXIS 685 (Ga. 2018).

Sheriff is not prosecutor.

- Sheriff could not be characterized as the "prosecutor" under O.C.G.A. § 15-12-163(b)(4) since the sheriff participated in the arrest only as an assisting officer and did not testify at trial. Davis v. State, 194 Ga. App. 482, 391 S.E.2d 124 (1990).

Members of group acting as prosecutor disqualified.

- Members of an electric membership corporation were disqualified from serving as jurors in a prosecution for criminal damage to property owned by the corporation, even though the corporation was not listed as the actual prosecutor. Lowman v. State, 197 Ga. App. 556, 398 S.E.2d 832 (1990), overruled on other grounds by Willis v. State, 2018 Ga. LEXIS 685 (Ga. 2018).

Employment relationship not a disqualification.

- In a prosecution for malice murder, the fact that the spouse of a prospective juror was employed at the motel where the crimes occurred did not require that the juror be stricken for cause. Burgess v. State, 264 Ga. 777, 450 S.E.2d 680 (1994), cert. denied, 515 U.S. 1133, 115 S. Ct. 2559, 132 L. Ed. 2d 813 (1995).

Employment by institutional victim not a per se disqualification.

- While kinship to the victim may automatically disqualify prospective jurors in a criminal case pursuant to paragraph (b)(4) of O.C.G.A. § 15-12-163, mere employment by a university when the actual victim was the university library is not a per se disqualification. Willingham v. State, 198 Ga. App. 178, 401 S.E.2d 63 (1990), cert. denied, 502 U.S. 980, 112 S. Ct. 581, 116 L. Ed. 2d 607 (1991).

Fiance of a police officer was not subject to disqualification for principal cause, even though the officer was one of the arresting officers and was a witness in the case. Croom v. State, 217 Ga. App. 596, 458 S.E.2d 679 (1995).

Mother-in-law of investigating officer.

- Even if the defendant's allegation were true that a juror who served during defendant's felony murder prosecution was the mother-in-law of a law enforcement officer who investigated the murder, the trial court did not err in refusing to strike the juror for cause since a juror need only be struck for cause when he or she is in a close relationship to the prosecutor of a criminal trial, to the accused, or to the victim. Bryant v. State, 270 Ga. 266, 507 S.E.2d 451 (1998).

Acquaintance with police officer witness is not grounds to disqualify a juror for cause. Smith v. State, 234 Ga. App. 586, 506 S.E.2d 406 (1998).

3. Involvement in Prosecution

Involvement in prosecution a disqualification.

- One who is actively engaged in any way in the prosecution of one accused of crime is disqualified from sitting as a trier in the case. Johnson v. Mayor of Hazlehurst, 8 Ga. App. 841, 70 S.E. 258 (1911).

One who contributes to fund for purpose of defraying expense of apprehending criminal or for prosecution of the case is prosecutor. Harris v. State, 188 Ga. 745, 4 S.E.2d 651 (1939).

If one other than an officer of the law takes such an interest in apprehending a person who is supposed to have committed a crime that one contributes one's funds to aid in the apprehension and prosecution of such person, one is not a competent juror on the trial of another person alleged to have conspired with the absent one and to have aided that person in the commission of the crime, and those related to such contributor within the prohibited degree would also be barred from passing judgment on the person being tried. Harris v. State, 188 Ga. 745, 4 S.E.2d 651 (1939).

Failure to make adequate inquiry of juror whose child had been prosecuted.

- Trial court abused the court's discretion by excusing for cause a juror whose child had been prosecuted by one of the assistant district attorneys who was prosecuting the defendant's case and had been represented by the attorney who was representing a co-defendant because no adequate inquiry was made by the trial court as to whether an actual bias existed to justify excusing the juror for cause. Simon v. State, 320 Ga. App. 15, 739 S.E.2d 34 (2013).

RESEARCH REFERENCES

Am. Jur. 2d.

- 47 Am. Jur. 2d, Jury, §§ 199 et seq., 276 et seq.

C.J.S.

- 50A C.J.S., Juries, § 352 et seq.

ALR.

- Contributing to fund for prosecution as disqualifying juror, 1 A.L.R. 519.

Membership in secret order or organization for the suppression of crime as proper subject of examination, or ground of challenge, of juror, 31 A.L.R. 411; 158 A.L.R. 1361.

Relationship to one financially affected by the offense charged as disqualifying juror, 63 A.L.R. 183.

Statutory grounds for challenge of jurors for cause as exclusive of common-law grounds, 64 A.L.R. 645.

Excusing qualified juror drawn in criminal case as ground of complaint by defendant, 96 A.L.R. 508.

Prospective juror's connection with insurance company as ground of challenge for cause in action for personal injuries or damage to property, 103 A.L.R. 511.

Prejudice against certain type of defense as ground of challenge for cause of juror in criminal case, 112 A.L.R. 531.

Disqualifying relationship unknown to juror as ground of new trial in criminal case, 116 A.L.R. 679.

Disqualifying relationship by affinity in case of judge or juror as affected by dissolution of marriage, 117 A.L.R. 800.

Intelligence, character, religious, or loyalty tests of qualifications of juror, 126 A.L.R. 506.

Proof as to exclusion of or discrimination against eligible class or race in respect to jury in criminal case, 1 A.L.R.2d 1291.

Failure of juror in criminal case to disclose his previous jury service within disqualifying period as ground for reversal or new trial, 13 A.L.R.2d 1482.

Use of intoxicating liquor by jurors: criminal cases, 7 A.L.R.3d 1040.

Claustrophobia or other neurosis of juror as subject of inquiry on voir dire or disqualification of juror, 20 A.L.R.3d 1420.

Jury: membership in racially biased or prejudiced organization as proper subject of voir dire inquiry or ground for challenge, 63 A.L.R.3d 1052.

Juror's voir dire denial or nondisclosure of acquaintance or relationship with attorney in case, or with partner or associate of such attorney, as ground for new trial or mistrial, 64 A.L.R.3d 126.

Similarity of occupation between proposed juror and alleged victim of crime as affecting juror's competency, 71 A.L.R.3d 974.

Deafness of juror as ground for impeaching verdict, or securing new trial, or reversal on appeal, 38 A.L.R.4th 1170.

Jury: visual impairment as disqualification, 48 A.L.R.4th 1154.

Unauthorized view of premises by juror or jury in criminal case as ground for reversal, new trial, or mistrial, 50 A.L.R.4th 995.

Professional or business relations between proposed juror and attorney as ground for challenge for cause, 52 A.L.R.4th 964.

Fact that juror in criminal case, or juror's relative or friend, has previously been victim of criminal incident as ground of disqualification, 65 A.L.R.4th 743.

Prospective juror's connection with insurance company as ground for challenge for cause, 9 A.L.R.5th 102.

Use of peremptory challenges to exclude persons from criminal jury based on religious affiliation - Post-Batson state cases, 63 A.L.R.5th 375.

Disqualification or exemption of juror for conviction of, or prosecution for, criminal offense, 75 A.L.R.5th 295.

Examination and challenge of state case jurors on basis of attitudes toward homosexuality, 80 A.L.R.5th 469.

Prejudicial effect of juror's inability to comprehend English, 117 A.L.R.5th 1.

Examination and challenge of federal case jurors on basis of attitudes toward homosexuality, 85 A.L.R. Fed. 864.

Disclaimer: These codes may not be the most recent version. Georgia may have more current or accurate information. We make no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained on this site or the information linked to on the state site. Please check official sources.