JURY, a certain number of persons sworn to inquire of and try some mat ter of fact, and to declare the truth upon such evidence as shall be laid before them. The jury are sworn judges up on all evidence in any matter of fact. Juries may be divided into two kinds, common and special. A common jury is such as is returned by the sheriff, according to the directions of the statute 3 George II. cap. 25, which appoints that the sheriff's officer shall not return a separate pannel for every separate cause, but one and the same pannel for every cause to be tried at the same as sizes, containing not less than forty-eight, nor more than seventy-tWo jurors ; and their names being written on tickets shall be put into a box or glass, and when each cause is called, twelve of those persons, whose names shall be first drawn out of the box, shall be sworn upon a jury, un less absent, challenged, or excused. When a sufficient number of persons are impannelled, they are then separate ly sworn well and truly to try the issue between the parties, and a true verdict give according to the evidence.
Special juries were originally introduc ed in trials at bar, when the causes were of too great nicety for the discussion of ordinary freeholders. To obtain a special jury, a motion is made in court, and a rule is granted thereupon, for the sheriff to attend the master, prothonotary, or other proper officer, with his freeholder's book, and the officer is to take indiffer ently forty-eight of the principal free.
holders, in the presence of the attornies on both sides, who are each of them to strike off twelve, and the remaining twenty-four are returned upon the pan n el.
Jurors are punishable for sending for, or receiving instructions from, either of the parties concerning the matter in ques tion.
In causes of nisi prius, every person whose name shall be drawn, and who shall not appear after being openly called three times, shall, on oath made of his having been lawfully summoned, forfeit a sum not exceeding 51. nor less than 40s., unless some reasonable cause of absence he proved, by oath or affidavit, to the sa tisfaction of the judge. If any juror shall take of either party to give his verdict, he shall, on conviction, by bill or plaint, before the court where the verdict shall pass, forfeit ten times as much as he has taken ; half to the King, and half to him who shall sue. A man who shall assault or threaten a juror for giving a verdict against him, is highly punishable by fine and imprisonment ; and if he strike him in the court, in the presence of the judge of assize, he shall lose his hand and his goods, and the profits of his lands during life, and suffer perpetual imprisonment.