Grants the court discretionary authority to retain alternate jurors after final submission of the case.
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to amend the civil practice law and rules, in relation to the discretionary retention of alternate jurors after final submission of the case
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 Civil Practice.
This measure would amend CPLR 4106 to permit the Court in its discretion to retain one or more alternate jurors after final submission of the case to ensure availability if needed during jury deliberations. The proposed amendment of section 4106 also addresses the manner in which the retained alternate jurors may be utilized.
Current CPLR 4106 provides that, after final submission of the case, "the Court shall discharge the alternate jurors". As a consequence, in the event that a juror becomes disabled during deliberations, the Court must declare a mistrial unless all parties consent to proceed with a five person jury, which consent is rarely obtained. In cases of several weeks' duration, classically commercial, medical malpractice or products liability cases, a mistrial results in a tremendous waste of time and money for the litigants, the attorneys, and the Court, and frustration for the remaining jurors who have served throughout a prolonged trial in an effort to render a verdict. There is a continuing disparity among many courts statewide as to the practice regarding alternate jurors.
This measure also would amend CPLR 4106 to address the manner in which the retained alternate jurors may be utilized by providing that once deliberations have begun, the court may allow an alternate juror to participate in such deliberations only if a regular juror becomes unable to perform the duties of a juror. The proposed amendment also makes gender-neutral changes. The Committee appreciates the recommendations of Honorable Philip G. Minardo, Administrative Judge (ret.), Richmond County, regarding the amendment of Section 4106. Judge Minardo made his recommendations on behalf of and with the support of the New York State Association of Supreme Court Justices and the New York City Association of Supreme Court Justices.
This measure would have no fiscal impact on the State. It would take effect on the first day of January next succeeding the date on which it shall become law and shall apply to all actions commenced on or after that date and to all pending actions in which a jury has not yet been selected.
None. New proposal.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 6658--A IN SENATE March 8, 2012 ___________Introduced by Sen. BONACIC -- (at request of the Office of Court Admin- istration) -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Judiciary -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said commit- tee AN ACT to amend the civil practice law and rules, in relation to the discretionary retention of alternate jurors after final submission of the case THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Section 4106 of the civil practice law and rules, as amended by chapter 336 of the laws of 1972, is amended to read as follows: S 4106. Alternate jurors.
[Unless the court, in its discretion, orders otherwise, one]ONE or [two]MORE additional jurors, to be known as "alternate jurors", may be drawn upon the request of a party AND CONSENT OF THE COURT. Such ALTERNATE jurors shall be drawn at the same time, from the same source, in the same manner, and have the same qualifica- tions as [the]regular jurors, and be subject to the same examinations and challenges. They shall be seated with, take the oath with, and be treated in the same manner as the regular jurors [, except that after]. AFTER final submission of the case, the court [shall discharge the]MAY, IN ITS DISCRETION, RETAIN SUCH alternate jurors [. If]TO ENSURE AVAIL- ABILITY IF NEEDED. AT ANY TIME, before OR AFTER the final submission of the case, a regular juror dies, or becomes ill, or [for any other reason]is unable to perform [his duty]THE DUTIES OF A JUROR, the court may order [him to be]THAT JUROR discharged and draw the name of an alternate, OR RETAINED ALTERNATE, IF ANY, who shall replace the discharged juror [in the jury box,]and be treated as if [he]THAT JUROR had been selected as one of the regular jurors. ONCE DELIBERATIONS HAVE BEGUN, THE COURT MAY ALLOW AN ALTERNATE JUROR TO PARTICIPATE IN SUCH DELIBERATIONS ONLY IF A REGULAR JUROR BECOMES UNABLE TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF A JUROR.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD14029-03-2 S. 6658--A 2
S 2. This act shall take effect on the first of January next succeed- ing the date on which it shall have become a law and shall apply to all actions commenced on or after such date and to all pending actions in which a jury has not yet been selected.