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P.O. Box 1220
Port Townsend, 
WA 98368

Dist Court: 360.385.9135
Probation: 360.385.9123
Fax: 360.385.9367

Monday - Friday
8:30 to 4:30



Why is jury duty important?
The United States Constitution and the Washington State Constitution guarantees all people the right to trial by an impartial jury. Justice ultimately depends in large measure on the jurors who serve in our courts. 

What is my duty as a juror?
As a juror, you must be fair and impartial. Your actions and decisions must be free of any bias or prejudice. You must apply the law given by the judge to the facts given during the trial to make a decision in a case. 

How was I selected for jury duty?
You were selected at random from lists of voter registrations, driver registrations, and Washington State identification cards for residents of Jefferson County. Who is eligible for jury duty?
Jurors must be:

  • a citizen of the United States.
  • at least 18 years of age.
  • Reside in Jefferson County.
  • able to communicate in the English language.
  • of sound mind.

You cannot serve on a jury if you have been convicted of a felony and your civil rights have not been restored. If you are in doubt about your eligibility for jury service, you may contact the Jury Manager by mail or telephone: Mail: Jury Manager
Jefferson County Superior Court
PO Box 1220
Port Townsend, WA 98368
Phone: (360) 385-9131 

How long does jury duty last?
Jury duty in Jefferson County Superior Court is generally 1 to 4 days. However, if you are seated on a jury, your service may be continued to the following week to complete a trial. Jurors are required to serve for the duration of a trial. Jury duty in Jefferson County District Court is generally one or two days. However, if you are seated on a jury, your service may be continued to the following week to complete a trial. Jurors are required to serve for the duration of a trial. 

Who can be excused from jury service?
Very few people are excused from jury duty. Jurors will be excused only upon a demonstration of undue hardship or extreme inconvenience or for other reasons provided by law.

Can jury duty be rescheduled?
Yes. If you wish to defer your jury duty to a more convenient date, you must state the reason that you cannot serve during the scheduled time. Reschedule requests must be provided in writing to: Mail: Jury Manager
Jefferson County Superior Court
PO Box 1220
Port Townsend, WA 98368 

What type of cases are heard by jurors?
Jurors may be selected for District or Superior Court cases ranging from misdemeanors, such as, driving under the influence of alcohol to felonies such as First Degree Murder. Civil matters are heard in both Courts. 

Are jurors paid for jury service?
Jurors are paid $15 per day. Checks are usually mailed within 30 days after the completion of jury service. 

Must my employer pay me while I am on jury duty?
Your employer is not required to pay you while you are on jury duty. However, an employer shall provide an employee with a sufficient leave of absence from employment to serve as a juror when that employee is summoned pursuant to RCW 2.36. 

Reporting for Duty - Where to go
There will be signs in the courthouse directing you where to go to sign in for jury duty. 

When to Report
First day jurors report at 9:00 a.m. On subsequent days, jurors will be told what time to report. Please be prompt. One late juror can waste the time of the many persons involved in a trial.

Identification Badges
Jurors will be issued Juror Identification badges. Badges should be worn in plain view at all times (including lunch) during jury service.

State law prohibits smoking in all parts of the Courthouse. Smoking is permitted outside the building, however, because of time limitations there will not always be opportunities to go outside.

Selection of a Jury - Voir Dire
After you have reported for jury duty, the jury panel is sent to the courtroom in which the case will be heard. A jury of 6 or 12 people will be selected in the courtroom. The judge in the courtroom will explain the case and introduce the lawyers and other participants. As part of jury selection, the judge and the lawyers will then question the jury panel members to determine if anyone has knowledge of the case, a personal interest in it, or feelings that might make it hard to be impartial. This process is called "voir dire", a phrase meaning "to speak the truth".

Questions asked during voir dire may seem personal but should be answered completely and honestly. The questions are not intended to embarrass anyone but are used to make sure that members of the jury do not have opinions or past experiences which might prevent reaching an impartial decision.

During voir dire the lawyers may ask the judge to excuse a juror from sitting on the case. This is called "challenging a juror". There are two types of challenges: a challenge for cause and a peremptory challenge.

A challenge for cause means the lawyer has a specific reason for thinking that a juror would not be able to be impartial. For example, the case may involve driving under the influence of alcohol. If a juror had been in an accident with a drunk driver and was still upset about it, the defense attorney could ask that the juror be excused for that reason. There is no limit to the number of jurors who may be excused for challenge for cause.

Peremptory challenges do not require the lawyers to state any reason for excusing a juror.  Peremptory challenges are intended to allow lawyers, both prosecution and defense, to do their best to assure that the trial is fair. Peremptory challenges are limited to three per side in most cases.

Order of Events in the Trial
After the jury is selected, the trial will generally follow this order of events:

  1. Opening Statements:
    The lawyers for each side may explain the case, the evidence they will present, and the issues for the jury to decide.

  2. Presentation of Evidence:
    The evidence consists of the testimony of witnesses and the exhibits allowed by the judge. Exhibits admitted into evidence will be available to the jury for examination during deliberations. The jury will be asked to make decisions regarding disputed facts; therefore, jurors attention at all times is critically important. Juror note-taking or the use of any notes will be determined by the judge.
  3. Rulings by the Judge:
    The judge may be asked to decide questions of law during the trial. Occasionally, the judge may ask jurors to leave the courtroom while the lawyers make their legal arguments. The jurors should understand that such interruptions are needed to make sure that their verdict is based upon proper evidence, as determined by the judge under the Rules of Evidence. Jurors may give the evidence whatever weight they consider appropriate.

  4. Instructions to the Jury:
    At the close of all the evidence, the judge will read the instructions to the jury, explaining the law and other considerations in the case.
  5. Closing Arguments:
    After instructions, the lawyers have the opportunity to summarize the evidence in their closing arguments. After closing arguments, the jury is isolated to decide the verdict in the case.



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