How Jurors Are Chosen

This handbook information is available for download (PDF).

A Jury Chosen

Your name has been drawn at random from a list of licensed drivers in Washtenaw County. From this list of individuals, jurors will be selected to comprise the jury panel. Such persons, however, must be U.S citizens.

When you arrive at the courthouse, a jury clerk will meet you in the jury assembly room or other designated room. Before the selection of a jury begins, you will be asked to swear or affirm that you will truthfully answer the questions concerning you fairness and ability to sit as a juror on a particular case.

Voir Dire

As a prospective juror, you will be questioned by the judge or trial attorneys. This process, referred to as Voir Dire, is conducted to determine whether you have opinions or attitudes that would bias you in favor or disfavor of either side. While some questions may be personal in nature, they are not intended to embarrass you even if that becomes the result. They are asked to determine if there is a reason you should not sit on the case.

If Selected

Once selected as a juror, you are expected to listen to the judge, witnesses and attorneys, consider the evidence presented, and make an intelligent and just decision based on the evidence presented to you following the instructions provided by the court.

Excusals & Exemptions

Jurors may be excused for cause for reasons such as a personal or financial relationship with a party that would impair their ability to be fair. In addition, each side may excuse a limited number of jurors by peremptory challenge without any reason. Jurors who are excused for one case may be eligible to sit on another.

You are exempt from jury service if:

  • You are currently serving a sentence
  • You are not a resident of Washtenaw County
  • You are not a U.S citizen
  • You are on probation or parole
  • You are over 70 years old and wish not to serve
  • You have served as a Circuit juror within the last 12 months

Selection

When called by the individual court, a panel of jurors will be taken to a specific courtroom and be given preliminary information by the judge. A number of jurors will then be selected at random to sit in the jury box. If your number is called, please take the seat as directed in the jury box. 

If you are not selected for that case, you must then return immediately to the Jury Assembly room for potential assignment to another courtroom. If you are selected as a juror, you will receive additional instruction from the courtroom staff. Trial times and the duration of the trial will be explained to you by the Judge or staff of that courtroom.