What Method for Jury Selection Is Used In Texas ?

The Texas Government Code authorizes a county to adopt a plan for the selection of names of persons for jury service by using electronic or mechanical equipment instead of drawing names from a jury wheel. TEX. GOV'T. CODE ANN. 62.001 et seq. (Vernon 1998). A plan under this section must provide a fair, impartial, and objective method of selecting names of persons for jury service. Id. at 62.011(b)(3). Interestingly, the word "random" is not used in the statute. Id.; see also Singleton v. State, 881 S.W.2d 207, 211-13 (Tex. App.--Houston [1st Dist.] 1994, pet. ref'd) (holding that both challenges to the "fair cross-section" requirement and the randomness of the array must be supported by either a showing that the group actually was not a fair cross-section or that the fairness of the trial was compromised). The method adopted by Nueces County is consistent with the statutory requirements. In a county that uses a mechanical or electronic method, the code does not provide specific instructions for summoning additional jurors for service when the court does not have a sufficient number of prospective jurors. See TEX. GOV'T. CODE ANN. at 62.011(c). The only requirements of 62.011(c) for that situation, other than the general requirement of a fair, impartial and objective method of selection, is that the method must either use the same record of names of persons for jury service until that record is exhausted or use the same record of names for a period of time specified by the plan. Id. at 62.011 (b)(3), 62.011 (b)(5). Also, the statute specifically authorizes the judge to adjourn all or part of a panel of jurors until a later date during the term. Id. at 62.015(c).