The Importance of Jury Service
Jury service is an important civic and community duty. Through service on a jury you have a direct hand in the administration of justice. Jury service is a privilege and a responsibility that should be accepted with pride. The justice system cannot work fairly unless jurors perform their duties properly.
How a Jury is Chosen
Your name is drawn at random from a list of registered voters and licensed drivers or other sources, as deemed appropriate by your county. All of those so drawn constitute the group from which jurors will be selected to hear particular cases.
A juror summons, juror qualification form and a prospective juror questionnaire were sent to you. The summons instructed you to come to the courthouse to appear for jury duty and the juror qualification form, which you mailed back to the court, asked questions to determine if you are legally qualified to serve on a jury. The prospective juror questionnaire asked you questions that will help the judge and attorneys determine your fairness and ability to sit as a juror on a particular case.After you arrive at the courthouse, the jury commissioner will direct you to a courtroom. All jurors will be asked to rise and to swear or affirm to answer truthfully the questions asked of you concerning your qualifications to act as a juror in the case.
As a prospective juror you will be questioned by the judge and the attorneys. This series of questions is sometimes called "voir dire." The judge and lawyers need to determine whether any of you has any information concerning the case or any opinions or attitudes which either of the lawyers believe may cause you to favor or disfavor some part of the evidence or one party or the other. Some of the questions are personal, but they are not intended to embarrass you. They are asked in order to determine if there is any reason you should not sit on the case. Jurors may be excused for legal cause such as a personal or financial relationship with a party. Additionally, each attorney may excuse a limited number of jurors by what are called peremptory challenges.
After the jury has been selected, the jurors will be asked to rise and swear or affirm that they will render a true verdict according to the law and the evidence.
Once the jury has been sworn, the judge will give instructions about how the trial will be conducted - generally what the case is about and how the jury is to carry out its responsibilities.
Your duty as a juror is to listen to the judge, witness and lawyers; to deliberate calmly and fairly; and to decide intelligently and justly. Your decision must be made upon the evidence presented to you in court.
By law you are entitled to receive $50.00 per full day of jury served, or $25.00 for each half day or portions of a day served, to help compensate you for the time spent away from your personal affairs. You will also be reimbursed for mileage from your home to the courthouse at the rate set by the county commissioners in your county for county employees.
The jury system is critical in our system of justice. It assures that litigants will have a fair hearing by fair-minded people. Your service is appreciated by the court and the litigants.