State v. Bongalis

In State v. Bongalis, 180 W.Va. 584, 378 S.E.2d 449 (1989), the defendant challenged his second-degree murder conviction after discovering several months after his trial that one of the jurors had been convicted of a felony and was, therefore, statutorily disqualified from serving. On appeal, the defendant argued that the verdict should be set aside and a new trial awarded because of the disqualified juror. The Court based its decision to affirm the conviction on the rule stated in Syllabus Point 9 of State v. Hayes, 136 W.Va. 199, 67 S.E.2d 9 (1951) which provides: The general rule, inhibiting allowance of a new trial for matter constituting a principal cause of challenge to a juror, existing before the juror was elected and sworn, unknown to the complaining party until after verdict, not disclosed on a thorough voir dire examination, and undiscoverable by the exercise of ordinary diligence, unless it appears from the whole case that the complainant suffered injustice by reason of the disqualification; applies in criminal cases.