How to Enjoy Jury Service

Serving as a trial juror at any level of trial court is a fascinating experience, but to reach that level you need to prepare yourself at several different levels.


  1. Image titled Enjoy Jury Service Step 1
    Stop watching "CSI, Judge Judy, Judge this or Judge that. Oh, yes, and "Shark" as well." Get a grip and understand these are, what they like to call, reality shows. Don't expect the court to provide that kind of entertainment. Actual jury trials, although engaging and sometimes exciting, are not subject to the "Nielsen Ratings," nor should they be. Trials are not started for any of these reasons.
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    Don't listen to any rumors concerning how any court operates, unless the person giving you this information is a Jury Commissioner or a court officer that knows how the court does business.
  3. Image titled Enjoy Jury Service Step 3
    Study the history that brought trial by jury to the people of the United States.
  4. Image titled Enjoy Jury Service Step 4
    Call the court, or check the web site, and find out how the program works. For example, what time to report? is there any flex in the schedule? can I bring my cell - Blackberry, etc. Are there activities while I am waiting? Can I observe in courtrooms to see the process unfold before my eyes? Courts in this country have become very pro-active in jury management, you might be surprised.


  • Research how juries are supposed to work and the rights of juries. Be sure to look up jury nullification. This is the right of juries to judge the law as well as the facts. For instance, in the 1800s, many men were acquitted by Northern abolitionist juries for helping fugitive slaves escape, despite obvious guilt. It was responsible for the acquittal of Zenger when he used the truth defense to a charge of libel, which wasn't a defense by law at the time. It goes back to the common law in England and was supported by John Adams and the first Chief Justice of the US John Jay. Judges today usually don't respect it, and will probably remove you from the jury if you acknowledge you know about it. It remains, however, a right of the juror, even if judges wish it weren't.
  • You may not agree with everything you see or experience so remember, this system (of trial) is one of the greatest ideas our forefathers ever envisioned. They put themselves in harm's way to preserve this institution of trial and judgments being under the control of the citizens of this country. This truly is amazing if you just think about it. It is one of the things that keep us safe from tyranny.
  • Understand the role you will play and how important this really is.
  • Be open to new experiences.
  • Be a part of the solution, not the problem
  • You are now part of a "Bigger Picture" that protects constitutional rights for us all.
  • Jury nullification may have a place in this country's history, but there is one major problem that the nullification supporters never seem to think about, the idea of one individual judging the law removes majority rule and basically puts all (at least) criminal law in a constant state of flux. The United States is a federal republic and a constitutional representative democracy which means this,in a true democracy, majority always rules, and the rights of the minority are not relevant. In a true democracy, every person has an equal say in the day to day running of the government. This is not practical in a nation of any appreciable size. Nowhere have I ever seen the United States explained as being dedicated to give the priority of such serious decision making to one over the many, make sense now that juries are 8 to 12 members? It is the collective common sense and intelligence of 8 to 12 jurors that will deliver fair and impartial justice, that is what our fore fathers envisioned. Yes, you can see historical case law that talks about nullification and if the law is so draconian that something needs to be done, or it is a case of overzealous prosecution so be it. but we as a free nation need to be very careful about this idea.If people use nullification as a way to voice their dissatisfaction or as a "race issue" we then become the cause of a new and more serious problem, self serving.


  • Initiate dialog with the jury office....very important. Let them know what problems you may be dealing with.
  • Don't listen to unsupported rumors about court/jury management.
  • Follow the Judge's instructions, they are meant to preserve and protect.
  • Don't get stressed out.

Things You'll Need

  • A clear understanding of what a constitutional right is and how important they are to all of us.
  • is what you would want if the roles were reversed.

Sources and Citations

Article Info

Categories: Careers in Government