District Court Jury Duty Services
Jury Service is an important civic responsibility. Your name was selected at random by computer from the lists of voter registration, driver's licenses, and identification cards. Your answers to the Juror Summons are evaluated to make sure you are eligible for jury service and not exempt. To be eligible:
- Able to communicate in the English language
- Citizen of the United States
- If you have been convicted of a felony, you must have had your civil rights restored
- Must be 18 years of age
- Resident of Jefferson County
What to Expect While Serving Jury Duty
Every attempt is made to minimize the impact of jury service to the individual. Generally you will only be asked to report during the term of service as specified on the front of this summons. However if you should be chosen to serve as a juror, your time of service could be extended through the conclusion of the trial. An estimate of trial length will be given prior to selection. You should plan to be available from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., although you may be excused earlier.
Jurors are paid $15 per day and mileage at the rate determined under RCW 43.03.060. Mileage is automatically calculated based upon the most distant location in your zip code. Zip codes which reflect a box number are charged from the location of the post office. Further information is available in the jury office. Checks should be received within 3 weeks of the end of the term of service.
If excuse or postponement to another date is necessary, please include a written request with your juror information form. Service on jury duty within the past year is a valid excuse.
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 2 types of challenges: a challenge for cause and a peremptory challenge.
A Challenge for Cause
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 3 per side in most cases.