jury duty

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An obligation to appear for jury service. A person summoned for jury duty who fails to appear will face penalties depending on the state law. For example, in Washington, individuals summoned for jury duty who fail to appear are guilty of a misdemeanor.

A person summoned for jury duty may request accommodations if they face disabilities or other circumstances, such as child care. A person may also be exempt from jury service if serving on a jury would impose undue hardship. For example, some states allow exemption for military personnel on active duty.

A person summoned for jury duty may not end up actually serving as a juror. For example, they may be excluded by the process of voir dire. Alternatively, the parties in a case may settle right before the case is scheduled to begin. However, once selected, jurors are responsible for listening to all of the evidence presented at trial and then asked to “determine the facts.” People do not need any special knowledge or skills to serve on the jury, but are expected to be honest and impartial during their deliberations.

Jurors are usually compensated by an amount dependent on the state’s law. For example, Washington state law allows for compensation between $10 and $25 a day with possibility for mileage reimbursement. See also jury fees. Washington state law also requires that employers to allow sufficient leave of absence for employees summoned for jury duty.

[Last updated in June of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]