Drawing and Empaneling Jurors
- A person who is at least eighteen years of age, a United States citizen, a resident of New
Mexico residing in the county for which a jury may be convened is eligible and may be
summoned for service as a juror by the courts, unless the person is incapable of rendering jury
service because of:
- physical or mental illness or infirmity; or
- undue or extreme physical or financial hardship.
- A person who was convicted of a felony and who meets all other requirements for
eligibility may be summoned for jury service if the person has successfully completed all
conditions of the sentence imposed for the felony, including conditions for probation or parole.
History: 1953 Comp., § 19-1-1, enacted by Laws 1969, ch. 222, § 1; 1991, ch. 71, § 1; 2005,
ch. 107, § 4; 2006, ch. 101, § 1.
- A person who has served as a member of a petit jury panel or a grand jury in either state or
federal courts within the preceding thirty-six months shall be exempt from sitting or serving as a
juror in a court of this state when the person requests to be exempted from service by reason of
the exemption granted by this subsection.
- A person who is seventy-five years of age or older who files an affidavit requesting an
exemption from jury service with a local court shall be permanently exempt from jury service.
- A person may be excused from jury service at the discretion of the judge or the judge's
designee, with or without the person's personal attendance upon the court, if:
- jury service would cause undue or extreme physical or financial hardship to the
prospective juror or to a person under the prospective juror's care or supervision;
- the person has an emergency that renders the person unable to perform jury service; or
- the person presents other satisfactory evidence to the judge or the judge's designee.
- A person requesting an exemption or an excuse from jury service shall take all necessary
action to obtain a ruling on the request no later than the date on which the person is scheduled to
appear for jury duty.
- The judge, in the judge's discretion, upon granting any excuse, may disallow the fees and
mileage of the person excused.
- The service upon a jury of a person disqualified shall, of itself, not vitiate any indictment
found or any verdict rendered by that jury, unless actual injury to the person complaining of the
injury is shown.
- As used in this section and Section 38-5-1 NMSA 1978, "undue or extreme physical or
- means circumstances in which a person would:
- be required to abandon another person under the person's care or supervision due to the
extreme difficulty of obtaining an appropriate substitute caregiver during the period of jury
- incur costs that would have a substantial adverse impact on the payment of necessary daily
living expenses of the person or the person's dependent; or
- suffer physical hardship that would result in illness or disease; and
- does not exist solely because a prospective juror will be absent from employment.
History: 1953 Comp., § 19-1-2, enacted by Laws 1973, ch. 150, § 1; 1979, ch. 173, § 1; 2005, ch.
107, § 5; 2009, ch. 26, § 1.
- Each county clerk shall make available to the secretary of state a database of registered
voters of the clerk's county. The secretary of state shall preserve and make available to the
department of information technology, by electronic media, a database of New Mexico
registered voters, by county, which shall be updated every six months. The director of the motor
vehicle division of the taxation and revenue department shall make available by electronic media
to the department of information technology a database of driver's license holders in each
county, which shall be updated every six months. The secretary of taxation and revenue shall
make available to the department of information technology, by electronic media, a database of
New Mexico personal income tax filers by county, which shall be updated every six
months. The updates shall occur in June and December.
- The department of information technology shall program the merger of the registered voter,
driver's license and personal income tax filer databases from each county to form a master jury
database and write a computer program so that a random selection of jurors can be made. A
discrimination shall not be exercised except for the elimination of persons who are not eligible
for jury service. The administrative office of the courts shall provide specifications for the
merging of the registered voter, driver's license and personal income tax filer databases to form
the master jury database. The master jury database shall be the database that produces the
random jury list for the selection of petit or grand jurors for the state courts.
- The secretary of veterans' services and the adjutant general of the department of military
affairs shall make available, by electronic media, to the administrative office of the courts a
database of service members who were killed or missing in action during military service, which
shall be updated every six months. The administrative office of the courts shall remove the
names of service members who were killed or missing in action during military service from the
master jury database that produces the random jury list for the state courts.
- The court shall, by order, designate the number of potential jurors to be selected and the
date on which the jurors are to report for empaneling. Within fifteen days after receipt of a copy
of the order, the administrative office of the courts shall provide the random jury list to the
court. The department of information technology shall print the random jury list and jury
summons mailer forms within ten days after receiving the request from the administrative office
of the courts. Upon issuance of the order, the department of information technology shall draw
from the most current registered voter, driver's license and personal income tax filer databases to
create the random jury list.
- The department of information technology may transfer the master jury database to a court
that has compatible equipment to accept such a transfer. The court accepting the master jury
database shall transfer the information to a programmed computer used for the random selection
of petit or grand jurors.
History: 1978 Comp., § 38-5-3, enacted by Laws 1991, ch. 71, § 2; 2005, ch. 107, § 6; 2007, ch.
290, § 25; 2009, ch. 157, § 1; 2011, ch. 26, § 1.
Jury tampering consists of:
- the willful placing of names in a jury wheel or removal of the names other than in
accordance with law;
- the selection or drawing of jurors other than in accordance with law;
- the attempt to threaten, coerce or induce a trial juror to vote for a false verdict or a grand
juror to vote for no indictment or for a false indictment; or
- the threatening, coercing or inducing of a trial juror to vote for a false verdict or a grand
juror to vote for no indictment or for a false indictment.
Whoever violates the provisions of Subsection A or B of this section is guilty of a petty
misdemeanor and shall be sentenced pursuant to the provisions of Section 31-19-1 NMSA 1978.
Whoever violates the provisions of Subsection C of this section is guilty of a third degree felony
and shall be sentenced pursuant to the provisions of Section 31-18-15 NMSA 1978. Whoever
violates the provisions of Subsection D of this section is guilty of a second degree felony and
shall be sentenced pursuant to the provisions of Section 31-18-15 NMSA 1978.
History: 1953 Comp., § 19-1-5, enacted by Laws 1969, ch. 222, § 5; 1989, ch. 343, § 1; 1997,
ch. 208, § 2.
It is the policy of this state that all qualified citizens have an obligation to serve on juries and to
give truthful information concerning attitudes, opinions and feelings about topics relevant to the
proceeding for which they are called to serve when summoned by the courts of this state.
History: Laws 2005, ch. 107, § 2.
Upon drawing a list of jurors for grand jury or petit jury service, the clerk shall issue a summons
for each juror ordering his attendance at a time and place as fixed by the district judge or
magistrate ordering the drawing. The summons may be served by first class mail or in a manner
provided for the service of civil process. A willful failure to appear as ordered in the summons
is a petty misdemeanor. Accompanying each summons, the clerk of the court shall submit for
the information of the jurors the listing of those classes of persons or qualifications provided by
law under which an exemption from jury service may be claimed. Jurors shall be provided a
form upon which they may state the facts supporting their eligibility to claim exemption from
jury service and to express a claim for exemption.
History: 1953 Comp., § 19-1-10, enacted by Laws 1969, ch. 222, § 10; 1991, ch. 71, § 3.
- A person scheduled to appear for service on a petit jury may request a postponement of the
date of initial appearance for jury service. The request for postponement shall be granted if the
- has not previously been granted a postponement; and
- agrees to a future date, approved by the court, when the juror will appear for jury service
that is not more than six months after the date on which the prospective juror originally was
called to serve.
- A subsequent request to postpone jury service may be approved by the court only in the
event of an emergency that could not have been anticipated at the time the initial postponement
was granted. Prior to the grant of a subsequent postponement, the prospective juror must agree
to a future date on which the juror will appear for jury service within six months of the
- A court shall postpone and reschedule the service of a summoned juror, without affecting
the summoned juror's right to request a postponement under Subsections A and B of this section,
if the summoned juror is:
- employed by an employer with five or fewer full-time employees, or their equivalent, and
another employee of the same employer is summoned to appear during the same period;
- the only person performing particular services for a business, commercial or agricultural
enterprise and whose services are so essential to the operations of the business, commercial or
agricultural enterprise that the enterprise must close or cease to function if the person is required
to perform jury duty; or
- required to attend to an emergency as determined by the judge.
History: Laws 2005, ch. 107, § 3.
- The court shall empanel jurors in a random manner. The judge or the judge's designee
shall preside over the empaneling of a petit jury panel. The district judge or the judge's designee
shall preside over the empaneling of the grand jury panel. Jurors who appear for service shall be
questioned under oath as to their eligibility for jury service by the judge or the judge's
designee. Claims of exemption, requests for excuse from service or postponement of service
shall be ruled upon by the judge or the judge's designee.
- The judge or the judge's designee shall submit questionnaires to prospective jurors to:
- obtain any information that will aid the court in ruling on requests for exemption or excuse
from service or postponement of service;
- aid the court and the parties in voir dire examination of jurors or in determining a juror's
qualifications to serve on a particular petit jury panel, trial jury or grand jury; or
- aid in the determination of challenges for cause and peremptory challenges.
- The judge or the judge's designee shall certify a numbered list of the jury panel members'
names when qualified. The certified list of jurors and the questionnaires obtained from jurors
shall be made available for inspection and copying by a party to a pending proceeding or their
attorney or to any person having good cause for access to the list and the questionnaires.
History: 1953 Comp., § 19-1-11, enacted by Laws 1969, ch. 222, § 11; 1970, ch. 40, § 1; 1991,
ch. 71, § 4; 2005, ch. 107, § 7.
- The judge shall determine the number of jurors to be summoned for service, the date and
time for the appearance of jurors for qualification, the number of jurors to be qualified to provide
panels of jurors for trial service and the size of trial jury panels. Procedures such as the use of
alternate jury panels should be established where appropriate to lessen the burden of jury service
on persons retained on petit jury panels. Jurors may be drawn, summoned and qualified by the
judge at any time to supplement jury panels requiring replacement or augmentation. Petit jury
panels may be qualified and may serve as the trial needs of the court require without regard to
- The supreme court shall establish, by rule, the appropriate length of jury terms. The court
shall consider the number of trials held, the availability of jurors and the administrative and
History: 1953 Comp., § 19-1-12, enacted by Laws 1969, ch. 222, § 12; 1970, ch. 40, § 2; 1971,
ch. 136, § 1; 1977, ch. 382, § 1; 1979, ch. 173, § 2; 2005, ch. 107, § 8.
The district court of each county shall maintain a list of the names of the jurors duly empaneled
and present for the trial of a case. The judge shall cause the names to be randomly selected until
sufficient names have been drawn to provide the number of jurors required for the trial. The
name and number of each juror shall be announced. Twelve or six jurors shall compose a petit
jury in the district courts for the trial of civil causes. Twelve jurors shall compose a petit jury in
criminal and children's court cases. Magistrate and metropolitan jury court selection shall be
conducted in accordance with supreme court rules.
History: 1953 Comp., § 19-1-13, enacted by Laws 1969, ch. 222, § 13; 1991, ch. 71, § 5; 2005,
ch. 107, § 9.
The court shall permit the parties to a case to express in the record of trial any challenge to a
juror for good cause. The court shall rule upon the challenge and may excuse any juror for good
cause. Challenges for good cause and peremptory challenges shall be made outside the hearing
of the jury. The party making a challenge shall not be announced or disclosed to the jury panel,
but each challenge shall be recorded by the clerk and placed in the case file. In civil trials, the
opposing parties shall exercise peremptory challenges alternately. In juvenile or criminal cases,
the state or prosecution shall pass or accept or make any peremptory challenge as to each juror
before the defendant is called upon to pass, accept or exercise a peremptory challenge as to the
juror. In civil cases, each party may challenge five jurors peremptorily. When there are two or
more parties defendant or parties plaintiff, they shall exercise their peremptory challenges
jointly, and if all cannot agree on a challenge desired by one party on a side, then the challenge
is forfeited. However, if the relief sought by or against the parties on the same side of a civil
case differs, or if their interests are diverse, or if cross-claims are to be tried, the court shall
allow each party on that side of the suit five peremptory challenges.
History: 1953 Comp., § 19-1-14, enacted by Laws 1969, ch. 222, § 14; 1991, ch. 71, § 6.
Persons summoned for jury service and jurors shall be reimbursed for travel from their place of
actual residence to the courthouse when their attendance is ordered, at the rate allowed public
officers and employees per mile of necessary travel. Persons summoned for jury service and
jurors shall be compensated for their time in travel, attendance and service at the highest
prevailing state minimum wage rate.
History: 1953 Comp., § 19-1-15, enacted by Laws 1969, ch. 222, § 15; 1970, ch. 40, § 3; 1976
(S.S.), ch. 16, § 1; 1979, ch. 285, § 1; 1991, ch. 71, § 7.
Any party to a civil action or defendant in a criminal action, at the opening of trial and before the
empaneling of the jury is commenced, by motion to quash the jury array, may challenge the jury
panel on the ground that the members thereof were not selected substantially in accordance with
law. If the motion is sustained, then the trial will be stayed until a jury panel has been selected
and qualified in accordance with law. Such a challenge is waived if not raised before the trial
jury panel has been sworn and selection of the trial jury commenced.
History: 1953 Comp., § 19-1-16, enacted by Laws 1969, ch. 222, § 16.
In civil causes when the jury, or as many as ten of them, have agreed upon a verdict, they must
be conducted into court, their names called by the clerk, and the verdict rendered by their
foreman; the verdict must be in writing, signed by the foreman, and must be read by the clerk to
the jury, and the inquiry made whether it is their verdict. Either party may require the jury to be
polled, which is done by the court or clerk asking each juror if it is his verdict; if upon such
inquiry or polling, more than two of the jurors disagree thereto, the jury must be sent out again,
but if no such disagreement be expressed, the verdict is complete and the jury discharged from
History: 1978 Comp. § 38-5-17, enacted by Laws 1933, ch. 98, § 1.
- A. An employer shall not deprive an employee of employment or threaten or otherwise coerce
the employee because the employee receives a summons for jury service, responds to the
summons, serves as a juror or attends court for prospective jury service.
- B. An employer shall not require or request an employee to use annual, vacation or sick leave
for time spent responding to a summons for jury service, participating in the jury selection
process or serving on a jury. Nothing in this subsection requires an employer to provide annual,
vacation or sick leave to employees who are not otherwise entitled to those benefits under
History: Laws 1979, ch. 47, § 1; 2005, ch. 107, § 10.
An employer, either individually or through his agent, who violates Section 1 [38-5-18 NMSA
1978] of this act is guilty of a petty misdemeanor.
History: Laws 1979, ch. 47, § 2.