HOW ARE JURORS CHOSEN?
Jurors are chosen from selecting names at random from voter
registration and driver's license and "identicard" records.
The answers to the juror questionnaires are then evaluated
to make sure each juror was eligible for jury service.
To be eligible, a juror must be at least 18 years of age,
a citizen of the United Sates, a resident of the county
in which the juror is to serve, 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.
Those eligible may be excused from jury service if they
have illnesses that would interfere with their ability to
do a good job, would suffer great hardship if required to
serve, or are unable to serve for other legitimate reasons.
Once chosen, a juror becomes part of the "jury pool" - a
group of citizens from which trial juries are chosen.
WHAT HAPPENS IN THE COURTROOM?
In the courtroom, the judge will tell the jury panel about
the case for which they have been called to court. The lawyers
and others who are involved will be introduced. The jurors
will also take an oath, in which they promise to answer all
After the jury panel is sworn in, the judge and the lawyers
will question the members of the jury panel to find out
if any juror has any knowledge about the case, any personal
interest in it, or any feelings that might make it hard
for the juror to be impartial. This questioning process
is called voir dire, which means, "to speak the truth."
HOW LONG DO JURORS SERVE?
The number of days and hours a juror works depends on which
court you report to. Most trials in District Court and in
Superior Court last one or two days. Some trials do last longer,
depending on the type of case and number of witnesses.
In Grays Harbor County, the County Clerk handles jury
administration. The "jury pool" is divided into panels of
approximately 15 to 30 persons each. One or more panels
as needed are called in for service in the courts for the
scheduled jury trials. You will likely be called only once
before your term is up, unless there are a large number
The jury selection process is designed to reduce juror
waiting time. However, before and during trial you may be
required to wait in the jury room while the judge and the
lawyers settle questions of law. Judges and court personnel
will do everything they can to minimize any waiting that
occurs both before and during trial.
WHAT SHOULD JURORS WEAR?
Jurors should dress comfortably. Suits, ties and other, more
formal wear are not necessary. But don't get too informal
- beach wear, shorts, halter or tank tops are not appropriate
in court. Hats may not be allowed unless worn for religious
DO THE COURTS ACCOMMODATE PHYSICALLY CHALLENGED JURORS?
The judges and employees of Grays Harbor County courts are
committed to making jury service accessible to everyone. Though
some areas of the courthouse are outdated and may not meet
modern standards, attempts to accommodate all jurors will
be made. If any juror has a hearing, sight or mobility problem,
ask a member of the court staff for help.
WHAT ABOUT A JUROR'S EMPLOYMENT?
Washington law says employers "shall provide an employee with
sufficient leave of absence from employment when that employee
is summoned" for jury duty. It also says employers, "shall
not deprive any employee of employment or threaten, coerce,
or harass an employee or deny an employee promotional opportunities"
for serving as a juror. It does not say your employer has
to pay you while you serve.
WHAT TYPES OF CASES DO JURORS HEAR?
Jury cases are either criminal or civil.
Criminal cases. A criminal case is brought by the
state, or a city or county against one or more persons accused
of committing a crime. In these cases, the state, city or
county is the plaintiff; and the accused person is the defendant.
The defendant is informed of the charge, or charges, by
a written document called a complaint or information.
Civil Cases. Civil cases are disputes between private
citizens, corporations, governments, government agencies,
or other organizations. Usually, the party that brings the
suit is asking for money damages for some alleged wrong
that has been done. For example, a homeowner may sue a contractor
for failure to fix a leaky roof. People who have been injured
may sue the person or company they feel is responsible for
the injury. The party that brings the suit is called the
plaintiff, the one being sued is called the defendant. There
may be a number of plaintiffs or defendants in the same
WHAT HAPPENS DURING A TRIAL?
Events in a trial usually happen in a particular order, though
the judge may change the order. Here's the usual order of
- Selection of the jury
- Opening statements
- Presentation of evidence
- Jury instructions
- Closing arguments
- Jury deliberations
- Announcement of the verdict
WHERE DO I GO FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT JURY SERVICE
IN GRAYS HARBOR COUNTY?
Jury administration is a part of the office of the County
Clerk. Contact the Clerk's office at the County Courthouse
in Montesano, Tel. (360) 249-3842.
DISTRICT COURT LOCATIONS IN GRAYS HARBOR COUNTY
County Courthouse, Room 202A
102 W. Broadway
Montesano, WA 98563
Tel. (360) 249-3441 Fax (360) 249-6382
Pearsall Building,Room 201
2109 Sumner Ave.
Aberdeen, WA 98520
Tel. (360) 532-7061
Fax (360) 532-7704
A JUROR'S GUIDE
A juror's job is to listen to all the evidence presented at
trial, then "decide the facts" - decide what really happened.
The judge's job is to "decide the law" - make decisions on
legal issues that come up during the trial. All must do their
job well if our system of trial by jury is to work.
A juror does not need special knowledge or ability. It
is enough that jurors keep an open mind, use common sense,
concentrate on the evidence presented, and be fair and honest
Jurors should not be influenced by sympathy or prejudice.
It is vital that jurors be impartial with regard to all
testimony and ideas presented at the trial.
If you are called as a juror, we hope you will find your
experience interesting and satisfying. Thanks for your willingness
This brochure was prepared for you by the judges and staff
of Grays Harbor County District Court. The District Court
is here to serve you. If you have any questions about its
operations, please don't hesitate to ask a staff member. The
court published other informational brochures that are available
at the court office and from the District
Court home page.