Jury Selection - The Road to Becoming a Juror

by emeraldmile

Learn more about how jurors are selected and how you go from jury selection to becoming a juror.

When I received my jury summons I was not exactly thrilled. In fact, I groaned.

I am sure there are a few people out there that actually find a summons for jury selection exciting and patriotic - I am not one of these, but it is a legal piece of paper, and though, I did want to be responsible for someone else's incarceration (after all, you are always hearing about some person who was wrongfully convicted), I had to respect the court and its process.

Call the Jury Coordinator

The process begins

You have to call the jury coordinator, the number on the bottom of your summons, to inform the court that you have received your summons. It is at this junction that you can provide hardship excuses and arrange to send in pertinent document to support any claims of why you cannot serve on a jury or be a potential juror.

They will review your evidence and decide if you do not have to show up for jury selection on the specified date and time.

Show Up for Jury Duty

Do not skip out

Do not dismiss your jury summons.  Go directly to jail and do not collect $200.

If you fail to show up for jury duty than the judge will likely put out a bench warrant for your arrest.

You Received Your Jury Summons

You are

Jury Selection & the Potential Jury

Will you sit on the jury?

The pool of potential jurors are taken to a room where they sit until their jury summons number is called.

In my case that was to one of two large rooms where a video feed to the courtroom was set up.  It revealed the judge and you could hear the lawyers selecting jurors.

You stay seated until your jury summons number is called.

The would call about 18 numbers at a time and potential jurors lined up in the order their summons was called.  The entire group was called into the courtroom where you either speak to the judge or proceed to be examined by the prosecution and the defence.

You speak to the judge about any reason you cannot be on the jury.  You will either be excluded as a potential juror for the specific trial and sent back to the jury pool or dismissed for the entire day if your reasons for not attending will be problematic for all trials they are selecting jurors that day.

The number of trials that they will be seeking jurors for will change from jury selection to jury selection.  As the time, the court had three trials that they were looking to staff.

Meeting the Prosecution and Defence

The examination

The jury selection I was participating in occurred in Canada.  So this part may differ from where you many become a juror.

At this point you are asked to look at the accuse in their prisoner box from across the room.  The Crown (prosecutor) and defense watch you look at the defendant.  If they see something you they do not like about your expression or whatever they will challenge you as a juror and you will be sent back to the jury panel.  If they accept you they will say content.  If that happens then...Congratulations your are now a juror. 

Each trial selects twelve jurors and a group of alternates,  I like to think of them as juror runners up - if for any reason a juror is unable to fulfil their duty due to illness or something else equally bad they will takeover the "crown" and will become a juror.

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Swear or Be Affirmed

You are a juror, now what?

After you are selected you will be asked to either swear on the Bible or affirm your participation in the trial.

Afterwards, the selected jurors are taken to a room and pertinent details of time and date of trial will be explained to the jurors.  They will also go over housekeeping stuff including handing out parking passes and sharing with you where you are allowed to park.

Court will usually run from about 10am - 5pm.  You will have to be there before the trial starts; usually 30 minutes - 45 minutes.  You will be asked to get there before the judge and lawyers arrive.

Updated: 03/04/2012, emeraldmile
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Have you received a jury summons?

Sheri_Oz on 10/08/2012

If they had a jury system here, I would surely be willing to serve. Interesting article.

BrendaReeves on 03/07/2012

I served on jury duty once and really enjoyed it. I'd do it again if I get called.

katiem2 on 03/05/2012

I have not, yet... Being selected for jury duty is something most of us know nothing about. Thank you for the informative article, I feel much better knowing what I do.

Mladen on 03/04/2012

I was always amazed by this jury selection. We don't practice that in our country, but I have heard a lot about it.
I know it would be too much for me. It is your citizen's duty, sure, and everyone should accept it. But I am not sure if I would be thrilled about it.
Very informative and well written article!

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