How to Actually Get Elected to a Jury
If you’re trying to get away from jury duty, the world (and Lifehacker ) is full of tips and tricks to discourage both plaintiffs and defendants from choosing you as a jury. But what if you’re an honest citizen who wants to be on a jury? Maybe you crave a scene from 12 Angry Men or want to put some scumbag behind bars? Maybe you’re a bored retiree or just want a couple of days off from your job in a baseball cage? Either way, here are some tips to help you get elected to your civic duty.
Make sure you qualify
Juries don’t take everyone; they take almost everyone. You are generally exempt from jury duty if you are a full-time, local, state, or federal government employee, or if you are a police officer, firefighter, or active member of the military.
You must also be:
- US citizen
- Resident of the jurisdiction in which you intend to serve
- mentally competent
In most courts in the United States, you must speak English to serve on juries, but in some places interpreters are provided or the standard is not “fluency” but the ability to understand basic English. Some places give tests. Some don’t.
If you are a criminal, you cannot sit on a jury until your rights are restored.
Make sure the man knows you exist
Like everything in life, jury selection starts with getting your name on the right list. Potential jurors are usually selected at random from people who have registered to vote or are drawn from a list of DMVs with driver’s licenses or state ID card holders. So make sure you subscribe to both.
After you sign up, it’s time to play the waiting game and check your mail every day for a jury call. But don’t hold your breath – it’s a long process and you can’t speed it up.
So you’ve got the jury’s subpoena…
Once the jury summons has been mailed, follow the instructions. Some places have a phone number to confirm your arrival. You may need to complete a short online questionnaire. Or they may simply tell you the date and place where you should appear.
You must answer this call. You can be fined or even jailed if you ignore it.
Can you fit jury duty into your busy schedule?
As a potential juror, you can’t know in advance how long you’ll be asked to serve, although courts often estimate how long you can serve. Obviously, you must be free from any hardships that prevent you from serving, such as “needing to take care of a child” or “you’ll go broke if you miss work.” Your employer must allow you to serve on a jury, but they don’t have to pay you for your time.
Most jury trials don’t last longer than a week, but if you’re chosen to sit on a grand jury, it can be much longer. How long depends on the case, jurisdiction, and type of grand jury. In California, for example, “investigative” grand juries may meet for a year, while “accusatory” grand juries may meet for about six months. A federal grand jury may sit for 18 to 36 months. However, the grand jury does not usually meet every day. Instead, you may only be on the hook for a few days a month.
What to do on a big day
On the appointed day of the jury, arrive on time, dressed in respectful, “business casual” attire – many courts have a basic “no pajamas and flip-flops” dress code, but you are not usually required to wear sportswear. tie and jacket – and be ready to meet your fellow citizens. Take a snack, a book and a phone with you; you will probably be waiting for most of the day.
Getting on a jury is essentially a random chance among eligible citizens (although courts tend to choose a diverse, representative sample of the community), but the question of whether or not you are actually elected to a jury is usually decided by voir dire, not The random process by which lawyers select jurors.
Typically, the judge will give potential jurors a brief overview of the case, and lawyers on both sides will ask jurors questions designed to tease how they might end up deciding the case or whether you’ll be a fair juror. There’s no way to know what a particular lawyer is “looking for” in a jury other than impartiality, so answer questions honestly, presenting yourself as an open-minded person. Think of the “average person with mediocre views” as your best chance of being selected.
Lawyers are more likely to ask open-ended behavioral questions instead of asking, “Are you impartial?” They will likely pay close attention to your body language and look for signs that you are the type of independent thinker who might hang a jury. They may review your public social media feeds to see if you make a good juror. So, if you’re really serious about getting elected, clean political and religious opinions from your feed. You want to appear neutral and persuasive to either side. If you show up to a criminal trial wearing a T-shirt that says “F*ck the Police” or “Thin Blue Line”, you will most likely not be selected. If members of your close family work in law enforcement, you may also have problems. If you know someone who is involved in this case, you will probably be sent home. There may be some other aspect of your background, lifestyle, or profession that also makes you a poor choice for a jury.
Don’t be upset if you weren’t chosen
There are many factors that determine who will be selected on the jury, and almost all of them are out of your control, so if you are rejected, do not be discouraged. It’s not because you’re a bad person and no one loves you (or is it?? )