Jury Duty

Jury Duty ProcessYour name was selected at random from voter registration and driver's license and "identicard" records. You were chosen because you are eligible and able to serve. You are now part of the "jury pool", a group of citizens from which trial juries are chosen.

To be eligible for jury service, you must be at least 18 years of age, a citizen of the United States, a resident of the county or city in which you are to serve as a juror, and you must be able to communicate in English. If you have ever been convicted of a felony, you must have had your civil rights restored.

RCW 2.36.170 states, "A person summoned for jury service who intentionally fails to appear as directed shall be guilty of a misdemeanor." Please respond to your summons. The justice system in Washington State cannot function without citizens willing to serve on jury duty.

RCW 2.36.150 specifies that jurors may receive up to twenty-five dollars but in no case less than ten dollars for each day's attendance. Most Washington State counties pay $15 per day. Jurors are also eligible for mileage reimbursement.

  • Failure to appear for jury duty is a misdemeanor offense pursuant to RCW 2.36.170.
  • All questions or concerns about availability to serve must be made in writing immediately upon receipt of the summons.
  • The court may not discriminate due to any disability. Should you need special accommodations please contact the court immediately upon receipt of your subpoena.
  • Trial is usually for ONE DAY ONLY; will begin and end same day.
  • Record your mileage for reimbursement. Upon check-in you must present photo identification.
  • Be prepared to stay all day: lunch, breaks, and waiting. Jurors will be on their own for lunch unless in deliberations.

What happens during jury selection?

In the courtroom, the judge will tell you about the case, then introduce the lawyers and others who are involved in it. You will also take an oath, in which you will promise to answer all questions truthfully.

After you are sworn in, the judge and the lawyers will question you and other members of the panel to find out if you have any knowledge about the case, any personal interest in it, or any feelings that might make it hard for you to be impartial. This questioning process is called voir dire, which means "to speak the truth."

Though some of the questions may seem personal, you should answer them completely and honestly.

Remember: Questions are not asked to embarrass you. They are intended to make sure members of the jury have no opinions or past experiences which might prevent them from making an impartial decision.

What happens during a trial?

Events in a trial usually happen in a particular order, though the order may be changed by the judge. Here's the usual order of events:

  1. Step 1: Selection of the jury
  2. Step 2: Opening statements
  3. Step 3: Presentation of evidence
  4. Step 4: Jury instructions
  5. Step 5: Closing arguments
  6. Step 6: Jury deliberations
  7. Step 7: Announcement of the verdict

A new public service message on the need for broad participation in jury service has been released by two judicial branch committees and TVW. The 30-second public service announcement (PSA) is available in both English and Spanish, includes subtitles, and focuses on the message, “Without you participating, there is no justice.”

The jury service PSA can be found on the YouTube page of the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) at these links: