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Jury Duty

According to NPR, 32 million Americans get summoned for jury duty each year. Understanding your summons, knowing where to report and what to wear are just a few lingering questions of prospective jurors. Follow our list of do’s and don’ts to ensure you’re prepared for your day in court.


Do complete the Prospective Juror Questionnaire.

Before you can serve as a juror, you must first complete a Juror Qualification Questionnaire. These questionnaires are mailed by United States District Courts to registered voters and people with driver's licenses in each district. By completing the questionnaire, you join a pool of eligible jurors to serve on future cases in your district. Most questionnaires require completion (online or via the mailed form) within 10 days. We recommend you respond promptly and honestly. And remember, the questionnaire is not a summons to report for jury service.

 

Don’t forget to respond to your summons.

You’ve received a summons for jury duty. In most cases, that doesn’t mean you just show up to court. You must respond to your summons per the directions. This may include filling out a juror information form or calling a designated number.

 

Do understand voir dire.

Voir dire is the process by which judges and attorneys gauge the stability of selected jurors. This preliminary examination allows court officials to determine whether or not the selected juror can decide the case fairly. Having a personal connection to the case or someone involved with the case will likely lead to the juror’s excusal from duty.

Remember, only answer what is asked.

 

Don’t skip jury duty.

Reporting for jury duty is required by law. Failure to appear results in severe consequences like hefty fines, mandatory community service, appearing before a judge and in extreme cases, jail time.

 

Do familiarize yourself with legal terms.

As the jury, you play a vital role in determining the outcome of a case. To ensure you understand the case to its fullest extent and all parties involved, familiarize yourself with basic legal terms like plaintiff, defendant, counsel, bailiff and witness.

Overall, fulfilling your civic duty as a juror can be an exciting and rewarding experience. Simply follow the rules and regulations of your district court and you will be well on your way to the jury box.

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