What to expect as a Juror: As an active participant in the justice system, a citizen who serves as a juror can expect to:
- Be treated with dignity and respect ;
- Have court facilities and procedures identified and explained, as needed throughout the assigned jury service period;
- Have questions answered by the appropriate court staff member as allowed by law;
- Be informed of and comply with rules and guidelines that are designed to ensure the integrity of our legal process;
- Jurors are expected to pay close attention to and strictly follow all instructions given by the judge.
When you are inside the court room:
Once a trial by jury begins, “qualified” citizens are convened inside the courtroom. A juror may be excused if the judge determines there is a valid reason that the juror should not serve in the case. In addition, each lawyer has a right to excuse a certain number of jurors without giving a reason for doing so. This jury selection process is called voir dire.
There are special rules and considerations that attorneys apply and make when conducting voir dire. The fact that a citizen is excused from jury duty does not reflect on the citizen’s fitness to serve. A citizen who is excused from jury duty on one trial may very well be selected to serve on another. The judge is the final voice of authority for courtroom procedures. Jurors are expected to pay close attention to and strictly follow all instructions given by the judge.
Deliberations (Or Deciding a Verdict):
After the facts of a case have been presented by each party the jury is sent to a jury room to decide the verdict. Inside the jury room the jury members will select a foreperson whose job it is to collect ballots and to announce the verdict when asked to do so by the judge. All jurors are independent and equal. No one juror has more “weight” or power than any other juror.
In reaching a decision jurors must be remember to:
- Keep an open mind;
- Discuss the facts of the case by sharing information and points of view;
- Apply “jury instructions” appropriately;
- Decide on a verdict that is based on the facts of a case as they were presented inside the courtroom.