Reporting for Jury Duty
Your job as a juror is to listen to all the evidence at trial, then "decide the facts". The judge’s job is to decide the law and make decisions on legal issues that come up during the trial. Everyone must do their job well to make our system of trial by jury work. Jury trials have been an important part of the American legal system for over two centuries. They are an integral part of the law, which protects the fundamental rights of all citizens. Service as a juror is both a privilege and a duty and, when conscientiously performed, is a mark of good citizenship. Jurors do not need any special skills or legal knowledge, but like any other judge you need to be able to set aside personal feelings and biases and be willing to keep an open mind before making a decision. A fair and impartial trial and the rendition of a just verdict depends upon the combined efforts of the jurors, the judge, and the lawyers.
Once selected to serve on a trial, the Court is counting on each juror to be there every day until a verdict is reached and the judge releases you. Once you are assigned to a courtroom you must not discuss the case with anyone. You must not research the laws, history of the case, blog, or post on any form of social media - as doing so could lead to a mistrial.
Your service term depends on the court you are summonsed to serve at. Superior Court service is for one week or one trial – most trials last an average of three to five days, but occasionally they extend beyond one week. District Court service is generally three days or less. You are expected to be available the entire length of your term. Once selected to go to a courtroom with a group of jurors to begin the selection process for that trial, the judge will inform the jurors of the expected length of that trial. Jurors with issues can inform the Court at that time. If you are not selected for a trial, you may be returned to the jury pool to be selected for another trial or excused for the day with further instructions to call the Reporting Instruction line.
Jury Selection Process
Otherwise known as voir dire. A jury panel is a group of jurors from the jury pool who are randomly selected by the computer. Each member of the panel is given a number badge and sent to the courtroom to begin voir dire, usually by 10 a.m. The judge, prosecutor / plaintiff’s attorney, or defense / respondent’s attorney will ask the jurors a series of questions, which helps select the panel for that trial.
Once selected to serve on a trial, the Court is counting on each juror to be there every day until a verdict is reached and the judge releases you. You must not discuss the case with anyone once you are sworn on the case. You must not research the laws, history of the case, blog, or post on any form of social media - as doing so could lead to a mistrial.
Lunch breaks are generally taken each day from noon until 1 p.m. Oftentimes, judges have other matters to attend to at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. before the jury is brought back into the courtroom. Fifteen-minute breaks are taken mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Jurors are sometimes also excused to the jury rooms adjacent to the courtroom if the judge needs to deal with other matters. You can expect to serve each day until approximately 4:30 p.m. Once a juror is empaneled on a trial, you are instructed to report as directed by the judge and/or law clerk.
People entering the courthouse will be required to go through a metal detector. Purses, briefcases, bags and other items carried into the courthouse may also be searched. Please do not bring items with any blade such as scissors, nail file, pocket knives, etc. Weapons are prohibited in the courthouse facility.
If you still have questions about jury duty after reviewing this website, please contact Jury Management at 425-388-3386 or firstname.lastname@example.org.