Juror Selection – How Is A Jury Chosen?
Did you ever wonder how your name popped up for jury duty? In Kentucky, if you have been summoned to jury duty, your name was pulled at random from a list of prospective jurors kept in Frankfort.
How did you get on that list? The list of prospective jurors includes all people filing a Kentucky resident individual tax return, registered voters, and licensed drivers over age 19.
If your name is chosen from the list you will receive a summons (order to appear for duty) and a juror questionnaire. The questionnaire will confirm that you are qualified to serve and will help the attorneys with jury selection. For example, you will be asked where you work, whether you have been involved in any law suits, and whether you have a criminal record.
The jury pool is made up of all of the people called for jury duty at a given time. That group is narrowed to a jury panel for a particular case by a random drawing.
What happens after a jury panel is chosen?
After the jury panel is chosen, the jurors are administered an oath, swearing to truthfully answer questions about their qualifications to sit on a jury.
The judge and the attorneys will ask the jurors a series of questions. This process, called voir dire, helps identify which jurors can be fair and impartial and apply the law as instructed.
During voir dire you may be asked questions about any lawsuits you have been a part of or crimes that have been committed against you. The lawyers are trying to figure out whether your life experiences may create a bias toward one side in the case.
If it is determined that you know the parties, witnesses, or have information or beliefs that would keep you from being impartial, you may be “removed for cause” from the jury. The judge has to agree that a juror should be removed for cause.
Attorneys for each side can also remove prospective jurors without cause by using a peremptory challenge or “strike.” Each side has a limited number of strikes.
If there are too many potential jurors left after questioning, the court randomly chooses the remaining jurors. These people make up the jury that will hear, deliberate, and decide the case.
Trial by jury is an important right of every American. Your service, with integrity and impartiality, protects that right.