Bill S5125-2013

Relates to jury deliberations

Relates to jury deliberations.



  • Jul 31, 2013: SIGNED CHAP.287
  • Jun 20, 2013: returned to senate
  • Jun 20, 2013: passed assembly
  • Jun 20, 2013: ordered to third reading rules cal.534
  • Jun 20, 2013: substituted for a7181
  • May 23, 2013: referred to codes
  • May 23, 2013: PASSED SENATE
  • May 21, 2013: 2ND REPORT CAL.
  • May 20, 2013: 1ST REPORT CAL.641
  • May 10, 2013: REFERRED TO CODES




VOTE: COMMITTEE VOTE: - Codes - May 20, 2013
Ayes (15): Nozzolio, Boyle, DeFrancisco, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Golden, Lanza, O'Mara, Squadron, Perkins, Espaillat, Hoylman, O'Brien, Krueger



TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to jury deliberations

This is one in a series of measures being introduced at the request of the Chief Administrative judge upon the recommendation of her Advisory Committee on Criminal Law and Procedure.

This measure would amend CPL 360.20 to conform the statute to the procedure used in superior court for selecting a jury.

CPL 360.20 establishes the procedure a local criminal court must use when selecting a trial jury. It provides that "the court must direct that the names of six members of the panel be drawn and called" and that they "must take their places in the jury box and must be immediately sworn to answer truthfully questions asked them." By contrast, a jury selection for superior court is done under CPL 270.15, which uses slightly different language. It provides "the court shall direct that the names of not less than twelve members of the panel be drawn and called as prescribed by the judiciary law" (CPL 270.15(1), emphasis added). Judges in local criminal court typically resist the statutory directive that only six names be called and fill the jury box in the same manner as in superior court. That procedure, however, is not technically permitted.

There is no rational basis to prevent a local criminal court from using the more efficient procedure allowed in superior court - where courts call more than the minimum number of jurors necessary. Indeed, despite the statutory language of CPL 360.20, the Practice Commentaries to that section suggest that legislative history and intent never implied a legislative aim to install different procedures in the courts:

"The purpose of this section is to make the procedure for jury selection in the trial of an indictment applicable to the trial of an information in a local criminal court ... There is one statutory procedural difference. Section 270.15 was amended in 1981 to statutorily authorize the court to seat more than twelve prospective jurors for examination at the same time and no conforming amendment was made to the present section to authorize the seating of more than six prospective jurors for examination at one time.

Nevertheless, the obvious thrust of legislative intent under the present section is that with the exception of the number of jurors to ultimately comprise the jury - i.e., 6 as opposed to 12 -- the entire procedure should be the same as the procedure used on trial of an indictment." (Peter Preiser, Practice Commentaries, McKinney's Cons Laws of NY, Book 11A, CPL 360.20 at 226).

We recommend that this legislative oversight be corrected and a conforming amendment be made to CPL 360.20.

This measure take effect immediately, and would apply to all trials commenced on or after such effective date.

Legislative History:

None. New proposal.


STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 5125 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE May 10, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sen. NOZZOLIO -- (at request of the Office of Court Admin- istration) -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Codes AN ACT to amend the criminal procedure law, in relation to jury deliber- ations THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 360.20 of the criminal procedure law, is amended to read as follows: S 360.20 Trial jury; examination of prospective jurors; challenges generally. If no challenge to the panel is made as prescribed by section 360.15, or if such challenge is made and disallowed, the court must direct that the names of NOT LESS THAN six members of the panel be drawn and called. Such persons must take their places in the jury box and must be imme- diately sworn to answer truthfully questions asked them relative to their qualifications to serve as jurors in the action. The procedural rules prescribed in section 270.15 with respect to the examination of the prospective jurors and to challenges are also applicable to the selection of a trial jury in a local criminal court. S 2. This act shall take effect immediately, and shall apply to all trials commenced on or after such effective date.


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