View Full Version : Jury Duty?

Ian Moone
11-27-2015, 12:36 PM
One of the young relatives got called for Jury Duty recently. Attended on the day but wasn't selected.
Got to thinking!
I am 56 years old and NEVER been called for jury duty (ever).
What are the odds?
Anyone know HOW they decide who gets called up for Jury Duty?
Is there some kind of ballot on your social security number?
The electoral role maybe?
What rules you OUT of being called up for Jury Duty?
Criminal record? (I don't have one, maybe that's the issue, maybe I need to go get me one?) ;)
Just figured that one day I would get the call - but it never came.
What am I doing right (or wrong) as the case may be?
Just curious really!
Figure someone must know how the system actually works?.

Nicholas Lawrence
11-27-2015, 12:55 PM
Not sure of the specifics as to how it works in that part of the world. Here the clerk for each county maintains a list of eligible jurors (over 18, resident of the state for one year, and of the county six months, no conviction of a felony or treason, not excused due to age or infirmity).

As jurors are needed, they are then randomly selected. In some less populated areas they literally put each name on a piece of paper, put them in a box together and pick them out one at a time. In more urban areas the names are kept in a database and randomly selected using a computer algorithim. It is intended to be random, so in theory your name could simply never come up. There is also human error in the system, so if nobody updated the list with your name, you would not be selected.

Kent Adams
11-27-2015, 12:55 PM
Ian, you live in Australia, so I doubt many here will know the rules for that. In my local area in the US, property records are often used to find potential jurors, which may be the same in Australia.

Jim Koepke
11-27-2015, 1:22 PM
It is even different in the various parts of the U.S. Some places use voting registrations. That used to be the case in California. Then they included people with driving licenses.

If you live in an area with a low crime rate, they won't need as many jurors.

I was called multiple times in California. Sat on the panel twice but was eliminated before the trial. Rolling my eyes when the defense attorney asked what I thought was a very dumb question was the likely cause of him asking me to be dismissed.


Lee Schierer
11-27-2015, 1:59 PM
Anyone know HOW they decide who gets called up for Jury Duty?

Here you go:

Western Australia Jury selection

Mel Fulks
11-27-2015, 2:16 PM
"Kangaroo court" ....starting to make some sense now

Scott Donley
11-27-2015, 2:35 PM
Here in Washington.First, your name was selected at random from voter registration and driver's license and "identicard" records. Then, your answers to the juror questionnaire were evaluated to make sure you were eligible for jury service. 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.
I once was selected for a death penalty case, lasted 6 months and was not allowed to return to work during that time, I was lucky as my employer paid me for jury duty.

John K Jordan
11-27-2015, 3:09 PM
I'm almost 66, live in USA, vote regularly, and have never been called.
Makes me feel a bit unwanted.


Roger Feeley
11-27-2015, 3:53 PM
In Kansas it's the census. From there, it's pure chance.

I used to know a guy that wrote the selection software for a local county. It seems that a census worker knocked on the door of a trailer house and go no answer. So, being lazy, he just wrote down the names on a sign that said, "Home of John, Mary and Joey Smith" and he made up the rest. So Joey Smith got summoned and it turned out that Joey was a dog. Local news had some fun. Then, a year later, Joe got another summons. They couldn't remove Joey from the census so my friend had to put some custom code into the selection system that would reject Joey Smith at a certain address.

Tom Stenzel
11-27-2015, 11:42 PM
Here in Wayne County Michigan they use the driver's license records. Once you hit 70 you can be excused because of age if you choose. I've been called to the criminal court 5 times and sat on one case. I was called to civil court once but not seated.

My one case was a murder trial. The judge said it would be pretty straightforward and would last about 5 or 6 days. Three weeks later we broke for Christmas with no end in sight. We ended up hanging the miscreant, finding him guilty of 2nd degree murder. Afterwards a detective talked to me about it, said that with his previous record the defendant wasn't getting out anytime soon. Here the jury is released before sentencing so we didn't get to see that part of the trial.

Interestingly, the defendant's attorney was the one that discovered the Detroit Police Lab had faked evidence in another case. The lab ended up being closed down with the State police taking over. BTW, he lost that case too. He wasn't a bad attorney, he was really good. He just took on some really hopeless cases.

Most humorous part: One of the jurors didn't make it back after lunch, the judge was fuming and sent a bailiff to find her. The bailiff came back and said that one of the building elevators had broken down and it was likely she was trapped on it. Turned out that was true. The judge set it up so when she walked in we all stood and applauded :-)

Once about 25 years ago I really didn't want to get on the jury. I looked at the defendant, scowled and narrowed my eyes, making sure my body language wasn't nice. The lawyer had me bounced out in an instant. The other three times I was called my name wasn't drawn from the hat to be seated for a trial.

Want to get out of jury duty? These are ones I heard in court:

"If he wasn't guilty the police wouldn't have arrested him!"

"Why would they have a stupid law like that?"

"No, the police would never lie!"

"Yes, the police will always lie!"

"He (the defendant) looks like a criminal."

Once a judge gave a potential juror the boot because he said his occupation was "server" as in restaurant worker. The judge asked if he was a Wayne state student? Um, yes, and aren't finals coming up? The judge sent the student packing.

The prosecution and defense attorneys can toss any number of jurors off for cause and a limited number (six comes to mind but might be wrong) without cause.

I just got a jury summons a month ago. With the amputation I had I can't sit for more than 3 or 4 hours. My doctor wrote a note and I was excused. I wouldn't mind being on a jury again. Just remember to have books to read, crossword puzzles to do, something to stave off boredom. There's a lot of time spent just sitting and waiting.


Ian Moone
11-28-2015, 4:30 AM
Here you go:

Western Australia Jury selection

Thanks Lee - very informative reading.

It appears most of my life I lived outside of the predominantly urban areas where the courts hold trials - and draw their juror pools from!.

Lets hope they don't work out, that I moved to the city!

6 Months impaneled in a jury? Yikes! Careful for what one wishes for I guess! Sounds like the jurors got locked up for probably longer than the criminal! ;)

Dave Anderson NH
11-28-2015, 1:36 PM
I was called for Grand jury about 25 years ago just 2 weeks after starting a new job. I was fortunately excused since we would have been empaneled for 90 days and my new employer would not have been too happy.

My Dad has been called half a dozen times but always gets bounced by the judge as soon as they get to the part about education. As soon as he says "Law degree" he's out the door.

Ken Fitzgerald
11-28-2015, 2:38 PM
Here in the USA, it varies from state to state and in Idaho, where I live, county by county on the selection process. Here it is random selection based on drivers license and voter registration.

I have one neighbor who is has been a resident for over 60 years, retired as a locally school teacher and has never been selected. His wife is a life long resident of Idaho, also a retired school teacher and gets selected regularly. My wife and I get selected regularly. It's literally the luck of the draw.

I have been selected several times and as of yet, have never had to serve. Twice, I was interviewed and didn't get selected.

One other time, the list of potential jurors was stolen by a client of and from a defense lawyer. All of us received letters in the mail condemning the law and requesting that if selected to serve we would find the defendant not guilty because the law was unfair. The entire jury pool was dismissed, the defendant and his lawyer had to face some interesting situations in front of the court after that.

David Helm
11-28-2015, 2:43 PM
Had a driver's license since 16, registered to vote from the moment of legal age, got my first jury call at age 70.

Stewie Simpson
11-29-2015, 7:12 AM
"Kangaroo court" ....starting to make some sense now

What a silly comment to make!!!!


Chuck Saunders
11-30-2015, 10:08 AM
My dad, an attorney, told me the best way to get out of jury duty was to proclaim "I can tell if they're guilty just by lookin". Because of his sense of humor I feared that while you would get out of jury duty, it would be because you were serving time for contempt of court.

Yonak Hawkins
11-30-2015, 12:01 PM
In my county one can volunteer for jury duty if one wants to serve.

Joe Tilson
11-30-2015, 4:39 PM
Was selected one time for a trial. Two people were arguing over where a fence post was supposed to be located. Got tickled at one point and laughed out loud. Judge Traxler threw me off the jury, and said something about this being serious business. I really cracked up that time. Of course, that was the end of that trial for a while. Almost got cited for contempt.

Allan Speers
11-30-2015, 8:05 PM
My dad, an attorney, told me the best way to get out of jury duty was to proclaim "I can tell if they're guilty just by lookin". Because of his sense of humor I feared that while you would get out of jury duty, it would be because you were serving time for contempt of court.

I got called in once. During the wadia, when the first lawyer asked me if I had anything to add, I said that I don't believe in the USA court system. Lawyers all lie and distort or hide facts, expert witnesses are either undependable (human error) or paid to give a specific opionion, jurors have no training so are easily swayed...."

I was going to go on, stating that I'd find for the defendant since I'd rather let a guilty man go free than jail an innocent one, but both lawyers jumped up and stopped me as fast as they could. I think they had to dismiss all the selected jurors and start over on another day.

The thing is, I was telling the truth. You can't be cited for contempt for telling the truth.

That was maybe 20 years ago, and I have never been called for jury duty again. :)

Bruce Wrenn
11-30-2015, 10:52 PM
FIL recently summoned for duty. When he told judge he was 95, judge took his name off the rolls. I been summoned twice, but wife never has. Daughter has to come home from duty assignment on Wednesday to be AVAILABLE to serve. It's only an 800 mile round trip. Luckily her husband came home with the flu yesterday, so most likely they will want her to STAY AWAY.

Rod Sheridan
12-01-2015, 9:55 AM
Hi Ian, I have no idea how they select potential jurors in your country.

Where I live (Ontario, Canada) there are 500,000 Juror Questionnaires sent out every year to determine if the recipient is eligible for jury duty. (there are 13.6 million people living in Ontario).

If you're eligible, you're placed in the jury pool and called as required.

I have been called twice, first time my employer requested that I not be called at that time due to a project underway, second time I was called I went to court every morning for a week, and no juries were selected that week.......Regards, Rod.

Kev Williams
12-01-2015, 4:54 PM
I remember when my mom got called in. She was in her 70's and hardly ever left home for anything, and she sure didn't want to do jury duty. The first day in, out of 100 people there, she was chosen 2nd. When she came home she said "That just figures. If they were giving away TV's, I'd been the LAST name they called!"


Ian Moone
12-02-2015, 4:11 AM
Maybe if I just turn up one day in the jury pool line without my name even being called, I could still get a Guernsey? If they twig to me, I could just plead that I lost the letter or was confused and went to the wrong court house or something! Heck I could just plead stupidity and that would be eminently believable at first glance.
There's a murder trial coming' up that I'd give my left nut just to be a fly on the wall at!. I could sit in the gallery I guess, but wheres the fun in that? I wanna be the one sends this sucker down... LOL
I am praying I get called & selected.