Colorado - Jury Duty Laws, Jury Selection, Juror Qualification
Jury Duty in Colorado - What to Expect
In the American court system, criminal defendants are guaranteed the right to trial by a "jury of their peers". In Colorado, a pool of potential jurors is randomly selected from the local population of individuals eligible for jury duty.
A prospective juror must be:
- a citizen of the United States
- at least 18 years of age
- resident of the county in which summoned or living therein more than 50% of the time
- have the ability to read, speak, and understand English
- be of sound mind to the capability of "rendering satisfactory juror service, being able to perform a sedentary job requiring close attention for three consecutive business days for six hours per day, with short breaks in the morning and afternoon sessions."
Any persons ever previously convicted of felony in the State of Colorado, any other state or jurisdiction of the United States, are disqualified from sitting on a grand jury.
How Are Potential Jurors Chosen in Colorado?
The first stage in jury selection is summoning a pool of potential jurors from the list of local citizens eligible to serve on a jury in Colorado, as described above.
Computerized method used to randomly select jurors from voter registration lists, driver license records and Colorado state adult issued identification records.
The master jury wheel is emptied and refilled yearly. Jurors with cancellations or postponements service may be replaced on the list for the succeeding year and will receive new summonses for their new dates.
For equitable distribution for the summons and selection of the qualified population of each county and to avoid repeatedly summoning the same individuals, the state court administrator will prioritize individuals with the least amount of jury appearances or service in the most recent years to be summoned prior to individuals who have appeared or served more recently.
Receiving a Jury Duty Summons in Colorado
If your name is randomly selected for the jury pool through the process described above, you receive a jury summons in the mail instructing you to appear for jury selection on a pre-set day.
While there are a few excuses for getting out of jury selection in CO, most people summoned will have to report to the courthouse for the next stage of the juror selection process, voir dire.
The Juror Selection Process, or "Voir Dire"
Just because you qualify to be a juror and are summoned for jury selection, doesn't mean that you will be selected to be a juror on a case. The process of "Voir Dire", the actual act of jury selection, is how judges, defense attorneys, and prosecutors actually choose the individuals who will sit on the juries for upcoming criminal and civil cases.
During the voir dire process, each lawyer will ask the pool of potential jurors a series of questions about their background, beliefs, prejudices, or relationships with any party to the case. While the goal is to select an impartial jury to render a verdict, each attorney will also seek to exclude any jurors who seem to be more likely to vote against their client's interests. While jury candidates are instructed to be open and truthful when answering such questions, the juror selection process is also where most individuals who don't wish to serve on a trial find a way to be excused from further juror duties.
What Happens After Jury Selection Day
If you are selected to serve on a jury, you will be provided with the trial date, and must return to serve on the jury for the duration of the trial and deliberations. If you were not selected to serve on any jury during the voir dire process, you can go home, and your Colorado jury duty obligations are complete.
You will receive nominal Colorado jury duty pay for the jury selection day, as well as for any days served on a jury. Once your service is complete, you won't be summoned for jury duty again until Colorado re-adds you to the potential juror pool.
Jurors reporting for jury duty or jury selection in the state of Colorado are expected to dress professionally, in a manner appropriate for a court room.
Most courthouses suggest dress ranging from business casual to business attire. For men, this means slacks or khakis and a polo or button-down shirt, potentially with a tie or suit jacket. For women, this means a professional-looking pair of pants or a skirt, cardigan, sweater, twinset, or shirt.
As a juror, you are expected to maintain a professional and respectable appearance while performing your duties. Hats should never be worn in a courtroom, and you should avoid wearing shorts, t-shirts, tanktops, or anything printed with logos or slogans.
While jury duty is a civic requirement for all eligible citizens in Colorado, the state restricts how often you can be summoned for jury duty in order to ensure a fresh jury pool and prevent undue hardship by being summoned too frequently.
Colorado Jury Duty Summons Frequency:
Yearly service is likely as the master list of prospective jurors is emptied and refilled.
Court administrators however prioritize persons with the least summons and service over those who've served more often and more recently.
While there are a number of ways to be legally excused from jury duty in Colorado, failing to appear when summoned for jury selection or jury duty without an excuse is illegal, and can result in legal repercussions.
Any person who fails to respond or report to a summons may be brought before the court by the United States Marshal for noncompliance and may be subject to a fine up to $1000, imprisonment up to three days, community service, or any combination thereof.
Employers in Colorado are also forbidden from penalizing employees who miss work for jury duty.