The Jury Duty Experience

by RyanD on December 13, 2013

Jury duty is a part of life that most citizens have to go through. It is a simple way of giving back to the community by serving as a peer to an accused. The selection of jurors is done through a randomized process that draws from the most recent voters list. The jury comes together to give a final recommendation to the judge in terms of whether they feel the accused is guilty or not. Jury duty is not as easy as turning up, listening to the facts and delivering one’s opinion. There are a lot of minute details included in the process that need to be deliberated over.

Selection Process

Being nominated as a juror does not make one ready to listen to facts from cases. Both the defense and prosecution have to agree with a juror being used in the case. Many factors are taken into consideration during the process, and many questions will be asked. All of the questions need to be answered truthfully and to the best to one’s ability. Potential jurors that do not fit the requirements of both sides are disqualified and do not proceed any further.

Waiting Periods

Jury duty entails plenty of waiting, as the process can be long and drawn out. Both sides will interview potential jurors, which can take up considerable time. During this process, it is recommended to bring something to read or enjoy during the waiting period. After the interviews are conducted, the process moves onto dividing the jurors into little groups. These groups are then presented with facts from the case and are able to provide their opinions. Deliberations are made among the little groups to come to a final decision in relation to the ongoing case.

As a jury deliberates, it is isolated from contact with society. Jurors cannot watch the news or read the paper during a trial, and any unauthorized contact with society can result in a mistrial.


In criminal cases, the jury is required to provide a final verdict on whether the accused is guilty or not guilty. In a group, the jury sifts through all of the facts to come to a fair opinion. In criminal cases, the verdict must be agreed upon by each and every juror. There are always varied opinions in the group, and debates can take many hours, days and, in extremely rare cases, even more than a week. The judge uses the final verdict to shape the sentencing of the guilty.

As a juror, you should disagree with the majority if you feel strongly about your own opinion. If there is factual reasoning behind the opinion, you must stick with it. The court typically requires a unanimous decision to count the jury’s final verdict. If there is a disagreement in opinion, the situation is called a “hung jury.” A hung jury is basically one that was unable to come to a conclusive or unanimous verdict. If there is a hung jury, the court will file the case as a mistrial. The case will then be retried at another date. A jury’s verdict being unanimous (in criminal cases) is important for the case to move forward.

The court will typically urge a jury to deliberate over the facts in order to come to a consensus to avoid a hung jury.

This article was provided by Sandy Wallace,  aspiring lawyer with an interest in business law and civil cases. If you find yourself on the other side of the civil jury, as a defendant in a business bankruptcy case, Sandy strongly recommends acquiring legal counsel.




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