Jury Duty General Information
Jury Duty in the Age of Covid-19
The Jefferson County Superior and District Courts are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of the citizens who are called to serve on a jury panel. The following are some steps we are taking on their behalf
- All individuals entering the courthouse will wear a mask or face covering
- Face masks will be provided for the jurors without a mask upon entry into the courthouse
- All staff and individuals will adhere to social distancing protocol
- Courthouse custodial staff are routinely sanitizing frequently touched surfaces
- Courtroom use of 6 air filters with internal heat components to destroy all virus
- Disinfecting foggers will be used in the empty courtrooms between court sessions
- In order to eliminate overcrowding during "voir dire", potential jurors will be broken up into smaller groups of no more than 30 to allow for social distancing in the courtrooms
Why is Jury Duty Important
Jury service is an important civic responsibility. The United States Constitution and the Washington State Constitution guarantees all people the right to trial by an impartial jury. Justice ultimately depends in large measure on the jurors who serve in our courts.
What Your Duty is as a Juror
As a juror, you must be fair and impartial. Your actions and decisions must be free of any bias or prejudice. You must apply the law given by the judge to the facts given during the trial to make a decision in a case. For a general idea of how a jury trial is conducted, see Jurors and Jury Trials.
How You Were Selected for Jury Duty
You were selected at random from lists of voter registrations, driver registrations, and Washington State identification cards for residents of Jefferson County.
Pursuant to RCW 2.36.070, an eligible juror must be:
- A citizen of the United States.
- At least 18 years of age.
- A resident of Jefferson County.
- Able to communicate in the English language.
- Of sound mind.
If you are in doubt about your eligibility for jury service, contact the jury manager at 360-385-9131.
I Just Received a White Juror Qualification Form
As outlined in your Qualification Form, your term of service shall be for 1 half of a month (approximately 2 weeks). Your Qualification Form will detail the specific dates that you need to be available to serve. Please fill out and return the white questionnaire within 5 days. If you are a few days late (for example, if you were out of town or forgot to check your mail box), please return it anyway.
Deferrals/Rescheduling Term of Service
If this time period does not work for you, you may request that your term be deferred to a later date, up to one year away. On Line Item 10, suggest a better month (also whether you prefer the first half or second half of that month), and include a reason for this deferral.
If you are an "eligible" juror but feel that your medical/mental condition prevents you from serving as a juror, select "Yes" on Line Item 8 and submit a doctor's letter within 10 days. Your doctor can fax a note to us at 360-385-5672.
Other Excuses, Hardships, Inconveniences, Etc.
If you are summonsed to appear for a specific jury trial/panel, you need to come to court at the designated date or time. You are welcome to mention to the bailiff upon check-in that you hope to be excused. The jury selection process will allow you the opportunity to explain your situation; if you are excused, you are free to go home. Jurors will be excused only upon a demonstration of undue hardship or extreme inconvenience or for other reasons provided by law (see RCW 2.36.100 and 2.36.110).
Showing Up: What is Expected of You
You are expected to make yourself available for service during the weeks designated in your Summons. You do not need to appear every day. If we need you to serve on a jury panel, we will send you a small, brightly-colored postcard telling you what day/time to appear. Check your mail! We try to give between 4 to 7 days' notice. On the day you've been asked to appear, please arrive on time as one late juror can affect an entire jury panel.
Call the Night Before
The night before you are scheduled to appear, call to verify whether your jury trial has been cancelled or rescheduled. You will find instructions on your postcard. The number to call (any time after 5 p.m.) is 360-385-9131.
How Long a Jury Trial Last
Jury trials in Jefferson County generally range from 1 to 4 days; on occasion, they will go longer. Jurors are required to serve for the duration of a trial.
I Keep Checking My Mail, but I Haven't Received a Postcard
It is possible that your 2-week term of service will come and go without you ever being called in to serve on a jury panel.
What Happens if You Don't Show Up on the Day My Postcard Tells Me to?
RCW 2.36.170 cites "A person summoned for jury service who intentionally fails to appear as directed shall be guilty of a misdemeanor." If you fail to appear for your jury service, expect to receive a postcard in the mail which instructs you to make immediate contact with us to reschedule another block of jury service.
Jurors Are Paid for Jury Service By the County
Jurors are paid $15 per day of service plus mileage at the rate determined under RCW 43.03.060. Be prepared to indicate your round-trip miles on your first day of jury service. You should receive your check within approximately 1 month from the end of your service.
Your employer is not required to pay you while you are on jury duty. However, an employer shall provide an employee with a sufficient leave of absence from employment to serve as a juror when that employee is summoned pursuant to RCW 2.36.
Reporting for Duty
View directions to Jefferson County Courthouse. Take the elevator or stairs to the second floor. Sign in/check in with the bailiff. (District Court trials: the bailiff will be signing in jurors in the jury room located just to the right of the elevator. Superior Court trials: The bailiff will be signing in jurors at a small table in the hallway.)
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.
What Type of Cases Are Heard by Jurors?
Jurors may be selected for District or Superior Court cases. These may be criminal cases ranging from misdemeanors (such as driving under the influence of alcohol) to felonies (such as assault, theft, drug-related crime and even murder); or they may be civil cases involving such matters as contracts, tort law, personal injury, etc. Some types of cases are never heard before a jury, including family law, probates, domestic violence, and juvenile matters.