What You Need to Know About Jury Duty


In today’s entry, Julian Omidi discusses the facts regarding how jurors are selected.

Jury duty is a civic duty that many dislike, but participating is certainly something to be proud of. Last week, it was reported that real estate mogul and presidential candidate Donald Trump will be interrupting his campaign to honor a jury summons in New York. On August 5th, former president George W. Bush also appeared for jury duty at a Dallas courthouse. These are just recent examples of how even public figures with pressing schedules choose to honor their obligation to participate in civic duty.

Here are some of the basic facts you’ll need to know about jury duty: hopefully, being adequately informed will help you to see this as less of an annoyance, and more of an opportunity to serve your country.


How Jurors are Chosen:

  • The district court goes through lists of registered voters and those with driver’s licenses who are residents of the district. The court randomly selects a number of people who fall into one of these categories.
  • Those selected will fill out a questionnaire to determine whether or not they are qualified to appear. Questions are carefully selected in order to make sure that the community is evenly represented, without racial, political, age, or gender bias.
  • Out of the people who qualify after the survey, a number of them are randomly chosen to appear in court on a designated date and time.
  • The judge and attorneys will proceed with voir dire, which is a process of asking questions of each potential juror that will eliminate those who may not be able to make an unbiased assessment of the case.


Types of Trials:

  1. Criminal: when someone commits a crime that has impacted society. The jury is made up of 12 people as well as alternates, and a guilty verdict can be reached only by a unanimous decision.
  2. Judicial: when a person seeks “remedies for private wrongs that don’t necessarily have a broader social impact.” This jury is made up of at least six people, and their decision should be unanimous.


Juror Compensation:

  • Federal jurors are paid $40 per day, but can receive up to $50 per day after having served 45 days on a grand jury, or 10 days on a trial.
  • An exception to this would be those employed by the federal government, who are to be paid their regular salary during their time serving.
  • Jurors will be reimbursed for some transportation and parking expenses, and may even receive an allowance that covers meals and lodging during specific circumstances.


Be good to each other,

Julian Omidi