Jury duty is all about giving your verdict in a court of law regarding a case in trial. But is it as simple as it sounds? Absolutely not. Jury duty summons is a life turning experience.
It puts you in a position of immense responsibility, urging you to decide the fate of a person based on your judgment and observation of the facts of the case.
You may be called to go to places you have never been to or may be asked to stay in closed and guarded facilities for a long time.
Suffice it to say that jury duty is not an easy task. It’s time taking and painstaking, so it’s best to seek some guidance before committing yourself to such a responsibility.
We have put together some dos and don’ts of jury duty that you may consider before appearing.
- Make sure you arrive on time and return from breaks on time too. The trial does not proceed until all the jurors are presenting in the courtroom. If, however, for some reason you can’t appear for the jury service, inform the jury office right away to avoid charges of a misdemeanour.
- It’s imperative that you pay close attention to the facts of the case being argued. You can give your verdict mindlessly. Jury duty requires you to employ your best judgments with special attention to the details. If you miss anything or cannot hear what is being said, you can raise your hand and let the judge know.
- A juror needs to be open-minded and unbiased. You can’t look at a case in the reflection of your own life experiences. Make sure you keep an open mind throughout the trial.
- Judges enunciate a comprehensive list of instructions before the jurors. Listen to those instructions carefully and abide by them.
Before the trial begins, the attorneys from both sides ask jurors a few questions determining their partiality to the case. They’ll ask about your bias and experiences similar to the subject matter of the case in trial. Be honest in your answers and avoid twisting facts. Lying to a court during the process of jury selection may result in a charge against you.
- While the trial is in process, don’t talk about the case with anyone, no matter how trustworthy or closely related they are to you. Make sure to avoid talking to the lawyers or witnesses.
- You are not allowed to take notes during the trial until the judge permits you to do so. So make sure you are focusing on what’s being said with all your attention so you can remember the facts of the case without having to write them down.
- Don’t pick up fights or argue with other jurors while deliberating the facts of the case. Try to keep your temper in check and listen to the opinions of other jurors with an open mind.
- Arrive at a decision after considering all the circumstances, witnesses, and evidence through proper deliberation, or else your decision will not have its effect.