Tips for Potential Jury Members
Some people view jury duty as an inconvenience and are not enthusiastic about serving on a jury. However, serving on a jury is not only part of every citizen’s civic duty, it also offers the opportunity for a deep and personal look into the court and justice system. While it may feel like being called for jury duty is a hassle, it is a unique experience for those who serve. Continue reading to learn a few tips for serving on a jury.
The first tip for serving on a jury duty is to have a positive attitude about the process. Approaching jury duty with a mindset of “what can I learn?” will help you find the process more interesting. Even though you have been called for jury duty, it does not necessarily mean you will have to participate in trial. If you have a legitimate conflict that causes you to be unable to serve at that particular date or time, let the court know at the appropriate time. Additionally, be honest about your opinions on any written questionnaire or during Voir Dire, when the judge or attorneys ask you questions. Some people are tempted to use these times as an opportunity to remove themselves from the jury pool, but being honest about your views is the best way for the court to effectively judge your ability to contribute to the jury in an un-biased way.
If you are selected to serve on the jury, know that each day you serve will be according to a schedule that is not up to you. The second tip for serving on jury duty is to adhere to the schedule and be prepared to wait. Jury duty is a little like the airport in this regard. Be sure to arrive on time, perhaps even a little early. Bring entertainment for times when you are waiting. A book, magazine, or other non-electronic form of entertainment is best because courtrooms often have strict rules about electronics with recording capabilities. Having something you enjoy doing while you wait will help make the down-time pass more quickly. It’s also a good idea to bring snacks and water if you might get hungry before the lunch break or during the afternoon’s activities. It can be difficult to pay attention when you are hungry.
The next tip for jurors is to take clear notes that will remind you of the details of the cases and arguments later. Taking useful notes can be tiring when you are doing it all day. Do your best to summarize each person’s testimony rather than writing everything you hear. If there are many witnesses, you might draw a sketch of them so you can better remember them later. If you are worried about following the arguments, try to listen closely at the beginning and ending of each attorney’s statement. Attorneys often summarize their main points at the start and end to make it easier for the jurors and the court to follow.
The fourth tip for jurors is to dress appropriately and comfortably. It is a good idea to dress in a respectful manner toward the court and the parties in the case. Dressing in layers will allow you to adjust in case the courtroom is particularly warm or cool. Additionally, you will be sitting for most of the day, so wear clothing that is comfortable. If you have enough time during lunch or a break for a walk, you will be happy to be wearing clothing you can move in.
Now that you know a few tips for serving as a juror, you might have questions about legal matters affecting you. Contact an attorney at Kelly & Brand, Attorneys at Law, LLC for sound legal advice tailored to your circumstances.