OCGA 15-12-166 Interpretation

Although OCGA 15-12-166 requires that a juror in a felony case be sworn in after acceptance by the parties, not every deviation from this rule justifies a reversal and new trial. In Thompkins v. State, the court clerk mistakenly informed the State that it had exercised all of its peremptory challenges. After the defense accepted the next prospective juror, the prosecutor determined that the State actually had one remaining peremptory challenge. The trial court then allowed the State to question the last seated juror and to exercise its remaining strike to excuse that juror. Thompkins v. State, 181 Ga. App. 158, 159 (2) (351 SE2d 475) (1986). The Court found that the trial court did not err in denying a motion for new trial under OCGA 15-12-166, because the trial court's actions in correcting the clerk's mistake were intended to preserve the strikes allowed to the State and not to circumvent OCGA 15-12-166. Id. See also Sakobie v. State, 115 Ga. App. at 460 (2) (where this Court deferred to the trial court's determination as to whether the defendant had accepted a juror before the State announced its strike of the same juror).