Idaho - Jury Duty Laws, Jury Selection, Juror Qualification
Jury Duty in Idaho - What to Expect
In the American court system, criminal defendants are guaranteed the right to trial by a "jury of their peers". In Idaho, 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 old
- a resident of the state and county in which summoned
- able to read, speak, and understand the English language
- been convicted of a felony in a state or federal court and pardoned.
How Are Potential Jurors Chosen in Idaho?
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 Idaho, as described above.
List are comprised of current voter registration list for the county supplemented with lists of utility customers, property taxpayers, motor vehicle registrations, drivers' licenses, and state identification cards, and maintained by the jury commissioner for each county. Duplicate records are merged.
Lists are emptied and refilled at least in December of each odd-numbered year or more, as prescribed by commissioner or judge.
The jury commission shall publicly draw names from the master list at random, manually, mechanically, or via an automated system.
Receiving a Jury Duty Summons in Idaho
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 ID, 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 Idaho jury duty obligations are complete.
You will receive nominal Idaho 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 Idaho re-adds you to the potential juror pool.
Jurors reporting for jury duty or jury selection in the state of Idaho 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 Idaho, 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.
Idaho Jury Duty Summons Frequency:
A person who has served as a juror in Idaho State or District court or has appeared for service but was not called, shall be exempt from serving for another 2 years, or a longer period not exceeding 5 years, as determined by the summoning county.
A juror will not be required to serve as both grand and trial juror, or to serve on more than one grand jury in a period of 2 years at minimum.
While there are a number of ways to be legally excused from jury duty in Idaho, failing to appear when summoned for jury selection or jury duty without an excuse is illegal, and can result in legal repercussions.
Individuals wilfully misrepresenting a material fact on a qualification questionnaire form for the purpose of avoiding or securing service are guilty of a misdemeanor.
A prospective juror who fails to appear pursuant to a summons or subsequent court order may be subject to contempt of court and jailed for up to 3 days or fined of up to $300.00 or both.
Employers in Idaho are also forbidden from penalizing employees who miss work for jury duty.