Chapter 500-A

Section 500-A:1

    500-A:1 Definitions. –
In this chapter:
I. "Clerk" means the clerk of the superior court in each county or judicial district or any of his deputies.
II. "Court" means the superior court and regional jury trial courts.
III. "Department" means the New Hampshire department of safety.
IV. "Master jury list" means the list blended and compiled from the voter lists, which shall be provided by the secretary of state pursuant to RSA 654:45, VI on encrypted removable media, and from the official record of persons 18 years of age or older who hold a current New Hampshire driver's license or a department of safety identification card, which shall be provided by the department. Information contained in the master jury list shall be private and confidential and shall not be subject to RSA 91-A.
V. "Office" means the administrative office of the courts.
VI. "Voter lists" means the official record of persons registered to vote in the most recent state general election and town lists, which are the combined and alphabetically arranged lists prepared by the selectmen and city wards for their respective jurisdictions made up of all adults listed on the voter registration lists, and provided to the office by the selectmen and city wards.

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1981, 527:2. 1992, 38:1. 1995, 277:13. 1998, 237:1, 2, eff. Jan. 1, 1999. 2013, 261:1, eff. July 1, 2013.

Section 500-A:2

    500-A:2 Preparation of Master Jury List. – The office shall annually provide to the clerk of court a master jury list for each county or judicial district thereof. A duplicate list shall be retained by the office. Voter lists and department of safety lists, as well as the master jury list, are confidential documents to be used by the office and the respective trial courts only for purposes of jury selection. Voter lists shall contain only the names and addresses of persons listed; additional information, such as date of birth, shall be available to the office only for the purpose of resolving discrepancies in the master jury list.

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1977, 473:3. 1981, 527:2. 1992, 38:2. 1993, 190:2. 1998, 237:3, eff. Jan. 1, 1999. 2013, 261:2, eff. July 1, 2013.

Section 500-A:3

    500-A:3 Repealed by 1992, 38:5, I, eff. Jan. 1, 1993. –

Section 500-A:3-a

    500-A:3-a Repealed by 2013, 261:8, eff. July 1, 2013. –

Section 500-A:4

    500-A:4 Prohibition of Discrimination. – A citizen of this state shall not be excluded from jury service on account of race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, national origin or economic status.

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1981, 527:2, eff. Aug. 28, 1981. 2019, 332:21, eff. Oct. 15, 2019.

Section 500-A:5

    500-A:5 Eligibility for Jury Service. – Eligibility shall be determined by rule of court.

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1977, 473:1. 1981, 527:2, eff. Aug. 28, 1981.

Section 500-A:6

    500-A:6 Juror Qualification Form. –
I. When required to do so, the clerk shall draw from the master jury list the names or identifying numbers of as many prospective jurors as is necessary to create a sufficient jury pool. The names or identifying numbers of prospective jurors may be chosen either by random drawing or by computer on a random basis. The clerk shall prepare an alphabetical list of the names drawn. The names drawn on the list may be disclosed only to persons authorized to see the list under this chapter or upon specific order of the court. The addresses of jurors shall not be disclosed, except to counsel, to a pro se party examining juror qualification forms, or otherwise in accordance with court rule.
II. The clerk shall make available to every prospective juror whose name is drawn from the master list a juror qualification form, accompanied by instructions to complete and submit the form to the clerk within 10 days after its receipt.
III. The court shall prepare the juror qualification form. The juror qualification form shall:
(a) Include the name, address, and age of the prospective juror;
(b) Require the prospective juror to specify if he or she is:
(1) A citizen of the United States and a resident of the county;
(2) Able to read, speak, and understand the English language;
(3) Subject to any physical or mental disability which would impair the prospective juror's capacity to render satisfactory jury service; or
(4) A convicted felon whose conviction has not been annulled or whose conviction is not eligible for annulment under New Hampshire law; and
(c) Contain the prospective juror's declaration that his or her responses are true to the best of his or her knowledge and his or her acknowledgment that a willful misrepresentation of a material fact may be punishable as a misdemeanor under the laws of this state.
IV. Notarization of the juror qualification form shall not be required.
V. If the prospective juror is unable to complete the form, another person may do it for him or her. If another person completes the form, such person shall indicate that he or she has done so and why.
VI. If it appears there is an omission, ambiguity, or error in a submitted form, the clerk shall return the form to the prospective juror with instructions to make the necessary addition, clarification, or correction and resubmit the form to the clerk within 10 days after receipt of these instructions.

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1981, 527:2. 1992, 38:3. 1998, 237:4, 6. 2009, 244:1, eff. July 16, 2009. 2013, 261:3, eff. July 1, 2013.

Section 500-A:7

    500-A:7 Failure to Submit a Juror Qualification Form; Questioning by the Clerk or Court. –
I. Any prospective juror who does not submit a completed juror qualification form as instructed shall be directed by the clerk to appear at the court to complete the juror qualification form.
II. At the time of his or her appearance for jury service, or at the time of any interview before the court or clerk, a prospective juror may be required to complete another juror qualification form in the presence of the court or clerk. The prospective juror may then be questioned, but only with regard to his or her responses to questions contained on the form and grounds for his or her excuse for disqualification. Any information acquired by the court or clerk at such time shall be noted on the juror qualification form.

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1981, 527:2, eff. Aug. 28, 1981. 2013, 261:4, eff. July 1, 2013.

Section 500-A:7-a

    500-A:7-a Qualifications of Jurors. –
I. A juror shall be 18 years of age or older on or before the first day of reporting for jury duty.
II. A juror shall be a citizen of the United States and a resident of the county of jury service.
III. A juror shall have the ability to read, speak, and understand the English language.
IV. A juror shall not be subject to any physical or mental disability which would bar effective jury service.
V. A juror shall not have been convicted of any felony unless the conviction has been annulled.

Source. 1998, 237:5, eff. Jan. 1, 1999. 2014, 204:33, eff. July 11, 2014.

Section 500-A:8

    500-A:8 Term of Service. – Any person who is summoned to serve as a juror on the petit or grand jury shall not be required to serve a term longer than 30 days. A juror who is sitting on a trial in progress or a grand jury hearing in progress shall be required to serve until the trial or hearing is completed.

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1973, 290:1. 1981, 527:2, eff. Aug. 28, 1981.

Section 500-A:9

    500-A:9 Exemption From Jury Service. –
No qualified prospective juror is exempt from jury service, except under the following circumstances:
I. [Repealed.]
II. If any person at the age of 70 years or more is selected as a juror he or she may, at his or her discretion, inform the court prior to the convening of court that he or she does not wish to act as a juror. He or she shall then be discharged, and another juror may be drawn in his or her place.
III. If any member of the general court or delegate to a constitutional convention is selected as a juror when the general court or a constitutional convention is in session, he or she may inform the court that he or she does not wish to act as a juror.
IV. No person shall serve as a petit juror at a term of court at which he or she has a case pending which may be tried by the jury at that time.
V, VI. [Repealed.]

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1981, 527:2. 1995, 277:14. 1998, 237:7, eff. Jan. 1, 1999. 2013, 261:5, eff. July 1, 2013.

Section 500-A:10

    500-A:10 Discharge by Court. – If a person selected and attending court as a juror is deemed by the court to be mentally or physically unfit to act as a juror, he or she shall be discharged.

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1977, 147:1. 1981, 527:2. 1992, 38:4, eff. Jan. 1, 1993. 2013, 261:6, eff. July 1, 2013.

Section 500-A:11

    500-A:11 Excuse From Jury Service. – A person who is not disqualified for jury service may be excused from jury service by the court only upon a showing of undue hardship, extreme inconvenience, public necessity or for any other cause that the court deems appropriate. The person may be excused for the time deemed necessary by the court and shall report again for jury service, as directed by the court.

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1981, 527:2, eff. Aug. 28, 1981.

Section 500-A:12

    500-A:12 Examination. –
I. Any juror may be required by the court, on motion of a party in the case to be tried, to answer upon oath if he:
(a) Expects to gain or lose upon the disposition of the case;
(b) Is related to either party;
(c) Has advised or assisted either party;
(d) Has directly or indirectly given his opinion or has formed an opinion;
(e) Is employed by or employs any party in the case;
(f) Is prejudiced to any degree regarding the case; or
(g) Employs any of the counsel appearing in the case in any action then pending in the court.
II. If it appears that any juror is not indifferent, he shall be set aside on that trial.

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1981, 527:2. 1988, 76:1, eff. June 14, 1988.

Section 500-A:12-a

    500-A:12-a Attorney Voir Dire Examination of Prospective Jurors. –
In addition to the provisions of RSA 500-A:12, the following provisions shall be incorporated into jury selection for civil and criminal cases:
I. The court shall instruct the panel of prospective jurors prior to jury selection as to:
(a) The nature and purpose of the selection process.
(b) The nature of the case to be presented.
(c) The specific issues for resolution.
(d) A summary of the law to be used in their consideration of the evidence.
(e) Any controversial aspects of the trial likely to invoke bias.
II. Counsel for each party shall be allowed a reasonable amount of time to address the panel of prospective jurors for the purpose of explaining such party's claims, defenses, and concerns in sufficient detail to prompt jury reflection, probing, and subsequent disclosure of information, opinion, bias, or prejudices which might prevent a juror from attaining the requisite degree of neutrality required.
III. The trial judge shall examine the prospective jurors. Upon completion of the judge's initial examination, counsel for each party shall have the right to examine, by oral and direct questioning, any of the prospective jurors in order to enable counsel to intelligently exercise both peremptory challenges and challenges for cause. During any examination conducted by counsel for the parties, the trial judge shall permit liberal and probing examination calculated to discover bias or prejudice with regard to the circumstances of the particular case. The fact that a topic has been included in the judge's examination shall not preclude additional non-repetitive or non-duplicative questioning in the same area by counsel.
IV. The scope of the examination conducted by counsel shall be within reasonable limits prescribed by the trial judge's sound discretion. In exercising his or her sound discretion as to the form and subject matter of voir dire questions, the trial judge shall consider, among other criteria, any unique or complex elements, legal or factual, in the case and the individual responses or conduct of jurors which may evince attitudes inconsistent with suitability to serve as a fair and impartial juror in the particular case. Specific unreasonable or arbitrary time limits shall not be imposed. The trial judge shall permit counsel to conduct voir dire examination without requiring prior submission of the questions unless a particular counsel engages in improper questioning. For purposes of this section, an "improper question" is any question which, as its dominant purpose, attempts to precondition the prospective jurors to a particular result, indoctrinate the jury, or question the prospective jurors concerning the pleadings or the applicable law. A court shall not arbitrarily or unreasonably refuse to submit reasonable written questions, the contents of which are determined by the court in its sound discretion, when requested by counsel.
V. Upon the agreement of all parties, the trial judge may waive voir dire examination by counsel under this section.

Source. 2004, 48:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2005. 2014, 40:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2015.

Section 500-A:13

    500-A:13 Alternate Juror. –
I. In the trial in the superior court of any civil or criminal case, when it appears to the presiding justice that there is reason for the selection of alternate jurors, the jurors shall, at the direction of the presiding justice, be drawn, selected and empaneled in the same manner as the regular jurors.
II. The alternate jurors shall:
(a) Be sworn with and seated near the jury with equal opportunity for seeing and hearing the proceedings;
(b) Attend the trial at all times with the jury;
(c) Obey all orders and admonitions of the court to the jury; and
(d) Be kept with the jury if the court orders the jury to be kept together.
III. The alternate jurors shall be liable as regular jurors for failure to attend the trial or to obey any order or admonition of the court to the jury. They shall receive the same compensation as other jurors. At the final submission of the case to the jury, any remaining alternate jurors who have not been substituted under paragraph IV, may be excused by the court or, if required to remain at court, shall be kept separate and apart from the other jurors in an appropriate place, subject to the same rules and orders as the jurors, until the jury has agreed upon a verdict or has been otherwise discharged.
IV. If, before the final submission of the case to the jury, one or more jurors becomes incapacitated, is disqualified or dies, his place shall be taken, upon the order of the court, by an alternate juror who shall become one of the jury and serve in all respects as if selected as an original juror.
V. If, at any time after the final submission of the case to the jury, and before the jury has agreed on a verdict, a juror becomes incapacitated, is disqualified, or dies, the presiding justice may order him or her to be discharged and direct the clerk to select at random the name of an alternate, who shall then take the place of the discharged juror on the jury. Before making a substitution, the presiding justice shall make a finding on record that the substitution will not cause prejudice to any party. The presiding justice shall instruct the jury to recommence deliberations and shall give the jury such other supplemental instructions as may be appropriate. The jury shall then renew its deliberations with the alternate juror.

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1977, 473:2; 588:8. 1981, 527:2. 1993, 255:1, 2. 1994, 23:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1995. 2013, 261:7, eff. July 1, 2013.

Section 500-A:14

    500-A:14 Protection of Juror's Employment; Action Brought by Employee. –
I. An employer shall not deprive an employee of his employment, or threaten or coerce him regarding his employment because the employee receives and responds to a summons, serves as a juror, or attends court for prospective jury service.
II. Any employer who violates paragraph I may be found in contempt of court.
III. If an employer discharges an employee in violation of paragraph I, the employee may, within one year of the discharge, bring a civil action for:
(a) Recovery of wages lost as a result of the violation; and
(b) An order requiring his reinstatement.
IV. Damages recovered shall not exceed lost wages. If an employee prevails in an action under paragraph III, the employee shall be allowed a reasonable attorney's fee fixed by the court.

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1981, 527:2, eff. Aug. 28, 1981.

Section 500-A:15

    500-A:15 Compensation of Jurors. –
I. Grand and petit jurors' fees and mileage shall be paid by the state. The jurors' fees shall be $10 for each half day's attendance before a superior court; for each mile's travel to and from the place where the juror serves, mileage shall be paid at the rate of $.20 per mile, mileage to be allowed for each day's attendance when the juror is required to leave the town or city in which he resides.
II. For the purposes of this section "attendance for a half day" means attendance either at the forenoon session or at the afternoon session.
III. The clerk of the court attended shall determine whether a juror has attended for a half day. Said clerk may count travel time to reach the place where the juror serves in determining attendance of the juror, if the juror is required to travel more than 50 miles one way by the most direct route to reach the court.

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1981, 527:2. 1983, 202:1; 383:28, 74, 75. 1991, 355:96, eff. July 1, 1991.

Section 500-A:16

    500-A:16 Future Ineligibility. – The persons who actually attend court as jurors shall not have their names again placed on the master jury list for at least 3 years.

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1975, 291:1. 1979, 259:2. 1981, 527:2, eff. Aug. 28, 1981.

Section 500-A:17

    500-A:17 Parking for Jurors. – Every juror, while in attendance at superior court or the United States district court, shall be allowed free parking in the city or town in which the court is sitting. The clerks of court shall furnish to each juror an identification card for display through the windshield of the juror's car. When his jury service is completed, the juror shall return his identification card to the clerk of court. The form, shape and color of the identification card and the information to be contained on the card shall be approved by the director of the division of motor vehicles. No juror shall use any area limited to 15 minutes of parking or less.

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1981, 527:2, eff. Aug. 28, 1981.

Section 500-A:18

    500-A:18 Oath. –
I. The oath to be administered to jurors in civil cases shall be as follows, unless the chief justice of the superior court otherwise directs:
You swear that, in all cases between party and party that shall be committed to you, you will give a true verdict, according to law and evidence given you. So help you God.
II. If any person selected as a juror is of a denomination called Quakers or is scrupulous of swearing, and declines to take the oath, the person shall take and subscribe the oath, omitting the words "swear" and "so help me God", substituting in place thereof, "affirm" and "this I do under the pains and penalties of perjury".

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1981, 527:2, eff. Aug. 28, 1981.

Section 500-A:19

    500-A:19 Penalty for Neglect of Juror. – Any person who, without sufficient cause, neglects to attend court after having been selected as a juror and duly notified to so attend, may be found in contempt of court.

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1981, 527:2, eff. Aug. 28, 1981.

Section 500-A:20

    500-A:20 Penalties. –
I. Any person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor who:
(a) Is notified as a prospective juror and does not appear as directed by the clerk in accordance with RSA 500-A:7 and does not show cause for his failure to appear when ordered to do so by the court; or
(b) Willfully misrepresents a material fact on a juror qualification form with the purpose of avoiding or securing service as a juror.
II. [Repealed.]

Source. 1971, 456:10. 1981, 527:2. 1992, 38:5, II, eff. Jan. 1, 1993.