October 01, 2020

Public Hearing On Proposed Rules on Confidentiality of Responses on Juror Questionnaires

The Supreme Court has sent out for comment proposed rules regarding the confidentiality of responses by prospective jurors on questionnaires used to determine qualification for jury service. The proposal remedies inconsistencies among existing rules regarding public access to the information provided in the questionnaires.

In general, the amendment makes all information provided in written responses nonpublic except the juror’s name and town of residence absent a judicial determination of good cause. The remaining content of the questionnaires is available to attorneys and parties in the case with limited exceptions. The parties may use the information during jury voir dire and exercise of challenges and as authorized by the court. The proposal was developed through the cooperation of members of several rules committees and amends provisions of the Rues for Public Access to Court Records, the Rules Governing Qualifications, List, Selection and Summoning of All Jurors, the Rules of Criminal Procedure, and the Rules of Civil Procedure.

A public hearing on the proposed amendments will be held virtually on Wednesday, October 28, 2020at 3 p.m. The hearing will be live streamed on the Vermont Judiciary's YouTube channel. Individuals wishing to speak at the public hearing should contact Emily Wetherell, Deputy Clerk of the Supreme Court, emily.wetherell@vermont.gov, for information on how to virtually join the meeting.

The proposed amendments are available here.

Written comments on these proposed amendments should be sent via email or mail by November 16, 2020, to Hon. Walter M. Morris (Ret.), Reporter for the Advisory Committee on Rules of Criminal Procedure at the following address:

Honorable Walter Morris (Ret.)
Reporter, Advisory Committee on Rules of Criminal Procedure
Vermont Supreme Court
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT  05609-0801
Walter.Morris@vermont.gov