District Of Columbia - Jury Duty Laws, Jury Selection, Juror Qualification
Jury Duty in District Of Columbia - What to Expect
In the American court system, criminal defendants are guaranteed the right to trial by a "jury of their peers". In District Of Columbia, a pool of potential jurors is randomly selected from the local population of individuals eligible for jury duty.
Jurors must be:
- at least eighteen years of age
- be a citizen of the United States
- be a resident of the District of Columbia
- possess the ability to read and write in English
- have had a period of one year pass since the pardon of a felony; incarceration, probation, or parole.
- Jurors must not be pending felony or misdemeanor charges.
How Are Potential Jurors Chosen in District Of Columbia?
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 District Of Columbia, as described above.
Master jury list shall consist of District of Columbia voters, persons who have obtained driver's licenses or identification cards from the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles, records provided by the D.C. Department of Tax and Revenue, and public assistance rolls; which shall be emptied and refilled at specified intervals, not exceeding 24 months.
Receiving a Jury Duty Summons in District Of Columbia
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 DC, 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 District Of Columbia jury duty obligations are complete.
You will receive nominal District Of Columbia 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 District Of Columbia re-adds you to the potential juror pool.
Jurors reporting for jury duty or jury selection in the state of District Of Columbia 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 District Of Columbia, 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.
District Of Columbia Jury Duty Summons Frequency:
Summons frequency is about two years.
If juror is not selected to sit on the panel during the first day of service, they are deemed to have fulfilled service and are not required until summoned again.
While there are a number of ways to be legally excused from jury duty in District Of Columbia, failing to appear when summoned for jury selection or jury duty without an excuse is illegal, and can result in legal repercussions.
Prospective juror who, without good cause, fails to complete juror qualification form; or misrepresents a material fact on said form with the purpose of avoiding or securing jury service; or fails to comply with a summons without good cause, may be punished by a fine of not more than $300, by imprisonment for not more than seven days, or both.
Employers in District Of Columbia are also forbidden from penalizing employees who miss work for jury duty.