TN Public Acts 1919 Ch 37 – Foreman of Grand Jury

Before the 1919 Act, the Tennessee Grand Jury consisted of 13 jurors and the Judge would appoint one of them to be the foreman/foreperson. In the 1919 Act, the number of jurors from the jury pool was reduced to twelve and a foreperson was added, who was appointed and selected by the Judge. The twelve are selected by drawing names randomly, just as is done today and the foreperson needs to have all the qualifications of a juror and is a member of said Grand Jury although he is not impaneled or summoned

Impanel (v) – The act of selecting a jury from the list of potential jurors, called the “panel” or “venire.” The steps are: 1) drawing names at random from a large number of jurors called; 2) seating 12 tentative jurors (or six where agreed to); 3) hearing individual juror requests for being excused, to be determined by the judge; 4) questions from judge and lawyers for both sides; 5) challenges of tentative jurors either for cause (decided by the judge) or peremptory (no reason given) by the lawyers; 6) swearing in the jurors who survive this process. See also TCA 22-2-310 Impaneling jurors

Summon (v) – To order to come; send for, esp to attend court, by issuing a summons. See also T.C.A 22-2-307 Summoning jurors

Juror (n) –   T.C.A. 39-16-101  (1) “Juror” means any person who is a member of any jury, including a grand jury, impaneled by any court of this state or by any public servant authorized by law to impanel a jury. “Juror” also includes any person who has been summoned or whose name has been drawn to attend as a prospective juror;

Once the jurors have been randomly selected to form a jury panel, they are summoned by the Sheriff to appear and then the Judge selects the Grand Jury as explained in Rule 6. Contrary to the beliefs of some, the judge indeed selects the jurors, as outlined in the T.C.A. and Rule 6.

Note that the grand jury is also discussed in T.C.A 40 -12 and TCA 16-2-510 explains how Grand Juries are impaneled, and contrary to the beliefs that Rule 6 does not reflect Tennessee Statute, it clearly does.

16-2-510.  Holding of court — Terms abolished — Grand juries.

(c) New grand juries shall be impaneled at least twice a year at times selected by the presiding judge of the district. The presiding judge within each district shall be responsible for designating the foreperson and for impaneling, charging and receiving the report of the grand jury, but may designate another judge to perform these responsibilities. In those districts in which there is a criminal court judge or judges, the criminal court judge or judges shall perform the duties pertaining to the grand jury assigned to the presiding judge by this subsection (c).

Senate Bill No. 293.

(By Mr. Louthan.)

AN ACT to authorize and empower and to require the criminal judges of this State, and the Circuit Judges of the State, having criminal jurisdiction, to appoint the foremen of grand juries in the counties of their respective jurisdictions: to provide for the manner of said appointments, and to fix the term of such appointments, and to provide for the compensation of such foremen of grand juries, and to define their duties, powers and qualifications, and to repeal all laws in conflict with this Act, and to amend Section 4015 of the Code of Tennessee adopted in 1858.

Section 1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee, That the various Criminal Judges of the State of Tennessee, and the Circuit Judges of the State, having criminal jurisdiction in any county, are hereby authorized, empowered and required to nominate and appoint the foremen of the grand juries in the various counties of their respective jurisdictions; and said foremen of the grand juries so appointed shall hold their office and exercise their powers of such office for a term of two years from appointment, unless for good cause, in the discretion of the presiding Judge, he may be removed, relieved or excused from office at any time. Said foreman shall be a member of each grand jury organized during his term of office, having equal power and authority in all matters coming before the grand jury with the other members thereof; and Section 4015 of the Code of Tennessee, providing for the formation of grand juries, is hereby amended by striking out the word “thirteen” in the fourth line of said section and substituting in lieu thereof the word ” twelve” so as to provide that the twelve jurors whose names are first drawn shall be a grand jury for the term, in addition to the foreman appointed as provided in this Act.

Sec. 2. Be it further enacted, That every person appointed as a foreman of the grand jury under this Act shall be at least 25 years of age, and shall be a good and lawful man, possessing all the qualifications of a juror under the laws of this State.

Sec. 3. Be it further enacted, That said foremen of grand juries, provided for under this Act, shall receive as compensation the sum of four dollars per day for each and every day the grand jury of which he is foreman is actually in session, to be paid out of the county treasury, in the same way as grand jurors are now paid. But said foremen of grand juries are to receive no other or further compensation for their services as such.

Sec. 4. Be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the foremen of grand juries provided for under this Act to assist and co-operate with the District Attorney-General in ferreting out crime to the end that the laws may be faithfully enforced, and such foremen of grand juries are hereby directed out of term time to advise the District Attorney General with respect to law violations and furnish him names of witnesses, whom the District Attorney General may, if he deem proper, order summoned to go before the grand jury at the next term. In term time the foreman may order the issuance of subpoenas for witnesses to go before the grand jury, unless otherwise ordered by the District Attorney.

Sec. 5. Be it further enacted, That in case of sickness, death, incompetency, or for any other reason the foreman of the grand jury is unable to serve, the Judge shall have power to fill the vacancy.

Sec. 6. Be it further enacted, That all laws and parts of laws in conflict with this Act be and the same are hereby repealed, and that this Act take effect from and after its passage, the public welfare requiring it.

Passed February 13, 1919.

Andrew L. Todd, Speaker of the Senate. Seth M. Walker, Speaker of the House of Representatives. Approved February 18, 1919.