People often wonder why they get picked for a jury and what can they do to get excused.
Jury service is defined by the legislature in RCW Chapter 2.36. The Superior Court Clerk is in charge of managing the picking and summonsing of potential jurors into court. In order to have a seated jury of 12 in Superior Court, we need to have around 30+ potential jurors show up for the day.
If you believe you have a reason not to serve, a reason to serve for less than the normal two weeks, or need to have your term deferred, you need to fill out the juror form, fill in the section on the back with your request and return it to the Superior Court Clerk. One of the Superior Court Judicial Officers will review your request. If you need to speak with the Jury Clerk, please telephone the Cowlitz County Superior Court Clerk's office at 360.577.3016.
Pursuant to RCW 2.36.070, the following categories of individuals are not considered able to serve:
- You are less than eighteen years of age;
- You are NOT a citizen of the United States;
- You are NOT a resident of the county in which you have been summoned to serve;
- You are NOT able to communicate in the English language; or
- You HAVE been convicted of a felony and have not had your civil rights restored.
Please note that if you are excused or deferred to a new date you will get a new notice. You also could be called numerous times in a fairly short time as the jury selection system is random, and does not pull you out of the selection pool if you have recently served.
There is some good information about jury service available in the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) Jury Brochure which is free to download. It will give you a good idea of what to expect.
An important message about Unconscious Bias and how it can affect your ability to be a fair and impartial juror. The video below was produced by, and is used with permission from, the US District Court for the Western District of Washington