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General Laws

Section 26B. In a civil or criminal case, including a capital case, to be tried with a jury in the superior court, which trial, in the opinion of the court, is likely to be protracted, the court may order impanelled a jury of not more than sixteen members and the court shall have jurisdiction to try the case with such jury subject to the following provisions of this section. If at the time of the final submission of the case by the court to the jury more than twelve members of the jury who have heard the whole case are alive and not incapacitated or disqualified, the court shall direct the clerk to place the names of all of the remaining jurors, except the foreman, in a box and draw the names of a sufficient number to reduce the jury to twelve members. Those jurors whose names are so drawn shall not then be discharged, but shall be known as alternate jurors and be kept separate and apart from the other jurors in some convenient place, subject to the same rules and regulations, until the jury has agreed upon a verdict or has been otherwise discharged. If, at any time after the final submission of the case by the court to the jury and before the jury has agreed on a verdict, a juror dies, or becomes ill, or is unable to perform his duty for any other good cause shown to the court, the court may order him to be discharged and direct the clerk to place the names of all of the remaining alternate jurors in a box and draw the name of an alternate, who shall then take the place of the discharged juror on the jury, which shall then renew its deliberations with the alternate juror. The court shall have jurisdiction to receive the verdict of the jury constituted under the provisions of this section and shall have jurisdiction to render judgment in said case.

In any case where the court is otherwise authorized to direct a verdict, the court may do so without first eliminating any of the jurors in excess of twelve.

In those cases that are to be tried by juries of six in a district, municipal or juvenile court, the court may certify that a certain trial is likely to be protracted, and may order impanelled a jury of not more than eight members and the court shall have jurisdiction to try the case with such jury subject to the following provisions. If at the time of the final submission of the case by the court to the jury more than six members of the jury who have heard the whole case are alive and not incapacitated or disqualified, the court shall direct the clerk to place the names of all of the remaining jurors, except the foreman, in a box and draw the names of a sufficient number to reduce the jury to six members. Those jurors whose names are so drawn shall not then be discharged, but shall be known as alternate jurors and be kept separate and apart from the other jurors in some convenient place, subject to the same rules and regulations, until the jury has agreed upon a verdict or has been otherwise discharged. If, at any time after the final submission of the case by the court to the jury and before the jury has agreed on a verdict, a juror dies, or becomes ill, or is unable to perform his duty for any other good cause shown to the court, the court may order him to be discharged and direct the clerk to place the names of all of the remaining alternate jurors in a box and draw the name of an alternate, who shall then take the place of the discharged juror on the jury, which shall then renew its deliberations with the alternate juror. The court shall have jurisdiction to receive the verdict of the jury constituted under the provisions of this section and shall have jurisdiction to render judgment in said case.

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