Senate downs bill to change civil jury size


PIERRE (CNS) – An attempt to reduce the size of juries in civil cases failed to get approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee Feb. 7.

Senate Bill 210, which would allow juries to have a minimum of six members, would lower costs for the county in civil actions, Sen. Duane Sutton, R-Aberdeen, said.

Dick Howard of the South Dakota Association of County Commissioners said the bill might directly violate the Constitution that states juries must consist of 12 members. The Constitution allows six-member juries in some courts, but civil courts are not included.

The committee voted 5-1 to refer Senate Bill 210 to the 41st day. This kills the bill because there are only 40 days in the current legislative session.