Jury Duty

Thank you to those of you who take time out of your life to serve as a juror. We hope this information will be of help in guiding you through the process and take some of the mystery out of the procedures. We have tried to anticipate and answer your more frequently asked questions. If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact the court.

Juror Information:

As a juror you perform a vital role in sustaining the American system of justice.

As intended by the United States Constitution, the impartial and random selection of jurors is performed without regard to race, sex, occupation, education, or economic level, and is done so as to assemble a representative cross-section of the county’s population.

If you have received a card from the court to call for appearance verification, call the following number after 6:00 p.m. on the date given.

422-7175 or 1-800-419-9885

 

Jury Duty - Frequently Asked Questions

What are the juror qualifications?

How are you chosen for service?

Why are jurors asked to complete and submit juror summons containing personal information?

What is the jury size?

How long will I serve as a juror?

Are hearing assistance devices available for use in the courtroom and juror room?

What kind of case will I be hearing?

How much will I be compensated for jury duty?

Can I get confirmation of service for my employer?

Why do we get asked to leave the courtroom at times?

Will we get breaks?

Can we smoke?

Will a telephone be available to contact family members if I'm going to be late?

Can we talk about the trial after it's over?

Am I obligated to talk to the news media?

Why do you have 15-20 people come for jury duty when you only have 6 on the jury?

Additional information

 

Juror Qualifications

To serve as a juror, a person must:

  1. Be at least 18 years of age.

  2. Be a citizen of the United States.

  3. Be a resident of Okanogan County.

  4. Be one of the following:

    • A registered voter.

    • A valid driver license or identicard holder.

  5. Be able to communicate in the English language.

  6. Must not currently be on community custody (a form of supervision/probation) with Department of Corrections.

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How are individuals chosen for jury service?

Once each month a prospective juror list is compiled from the jury source pool of all registered voters, drivers license holders and identicard holders. Everyone on this list is mailed a summons to complete and return to the court. Jurors are then requested to be available during one week that month for service. Approximately 140 jurors are called each trial month to appear.

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Why are prospective jurors asked to complete and submit juror summons containing personal information?

The information on this summons, including place of employment and family status is used by the attorneys for both sides during the voir dire or jury selection process. If this information were not available to the attorneys, the selection process would be delayed while the attorneys asked each prospective juror these basic background questions to determine which jurors they prefer and which they wish to challenge.

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What is the jury size?

The jury panel will consist of six (6) persons with one (1) alternate if the judge feels it necessary.

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How long will I serve as a juror?

District Court trials generally last one day however some may run longer. If you appear for one trial or all trials cancel for the week you have been selected, your jury term is ended. After a jury has been selected, those jurors who were not chosen or challenged may be reassigned to the other District Court courtroom or dismissed. You will not be summoned again for jury duty for at least one year once the month you were summoned for ends.

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Are hearing assistance devices available for use in the courtroom and juror room?

Yes. If you wish to use the device, request one from the legal process assistant so you are able to better hear the Judge, witnesses, other jurors, and attorneys during the trial process.

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What kind of case will I be hearing?

District Court trials deal with misdemeanors or gross misdemeanors such as Driving Under the Influence, Theft 3rd Degree, Driving While License Suspended, Assault 4th Degree, etc. The court also has jurisdiction over civil matters where the amount disputed is $100,000 or less.

Trials involving life and death issues or long term imprisonment such as murder, burglary, rape, etc. are felony offenses. These cases are handled by Okanogan County Superior Court.

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How much will I be compensated for jury duty?

You will receive $15.00 per day for jury service plus round trip mileage from your residence at a rate established by the State of Washington. The check will be mailed to your home and you should receive it about four weeks after service.

If your employer paid you full wages the day you served as a juror, you may need to turn over the $15.00 juror payment to them. The mileage reimbursement can be retained if you drove to the court in your own vehicle. Please check with your employer regarding their policy as it relates to jury duty and juror compensation.

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Can I get confirmation of service for my employer?

Yes, before you leave for the day request a written confirmation of jury service. Employers can not deny you the right to serve as a juror but can require proof of your appearance. (It is a violation of state law for an employee to be terminated for serving jury duty).

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Why do we get asked to leave the courtroom at times?

Occasionally, the attorneys need to discuss information that may affect your judgment. To keep you fair and impartial, they request the jury be excused while they discuss this with the Judge.

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Will we get breaks?

Yes. There will most likely be several recesses during the trial, some planned and some unplanned as requested by an attorney and approved by the judge. In addition you will have at least one hour for lunch on your own. If deliberations continue beyond 6:15 p.m. then dinner will be provided for you, if you want, and delivered to your jury room.

Remember during breaks and the lunch hour to refrain from discussing the case with anyone.

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Can we smoke?

No, not while the proceedings are in process. However you will have an opportunity during the lunch break for smoking. No smoking is allowed in the County buildings as required by County ordinance and state law.

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Will a telephone be available to contact family members if I’m going to be late?

Yes, you will have an opportunity to make a call to your family if you need to during a break.

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Can we talk about the trial after it’s over?

Yes. Once the trial is concluded and the judge removes the no discussion restriction, you will be free to discuss the case freely with whomever you choose.

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Am I obligated to talk to the news media?

No. You should not speak with anyone from the media during the trial. Once the trial is over it is left to your own judgment whether you allow yourself to be questioned or interviewed.

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Why do you have 15-20 people come for jury duty when you only have 6 on the jury?

The lawyers have the right and duty to challenge any jurors for cause. Each lawyer may also challenge up to three jurors each without giving any reason. There is no way to predict how many jurors may be disqualified for these and other reasons. Therefore we call a sufficient number of jurors to assure that enough will remain qualified for the trial.

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