Thank you for your willingness to serve for jury duty. We hope you find your experience interesting and satisfying.
Your job as a juror is to listen to all the evidence presented at trial and then decide the facts--which means that you will decide what really happened. The judge’s job is to decide the law and make decisions on legal issues that come up during the trial. Everyone must do their job well if our system of trial by jury is to work.
You don’t need special knowledge or ability to be a juror. Just keep an open mind, use common sense, concentrate on the evidence presented, and finally, be fair and honest in your deliberations.
And remember it’s very important that you don’t allow sympathy or prejudice to influence you. It’s vital that you decide impartially about all testimony and ideas presented at the trial.
First, your name was selected at random from enrollment or employment records. Then the answers to the juror questionnaire you filled out were evaluated to make sure you were eligible for jury service.
You must be at least 18 years of age and either a Tulalip tribal member living on or near the Tulalip Indian Reservation. If you are a resident of the reservation or an employee of the Tulalip Tribes or any of its entities, agencies or subdivisions for at least one continuous year, you are also eligible for jury duty.
In short, you were chosen because you are eligible and able to serve. You are now part of the jury pool -- a group of citizens from which trial juries are chosen.
Eligible jurors may be excused from jury service if they have illnesses that would interfere with their ability to do a good job or if they would suffer great hardship by serving. There are other legitimate reasons for excusal, but you have to check with the court if there is another reason you cannot serve on a jury.
In the courtroom, your judge will tell you about the case and then introduce lawyers and others who are involved in the case. You’ll take an oath and promise to answer all questions truthfully. After you are sworn in, the judge and the lawyers will question you and other members of the panel to find out if you have any knowledge about the case, any personal interest in it or feelings that might make it hard for you to be impartial. This questioning process is called voir dire, which means to speak the truth.
Though some questions may seem personal, you should answer them completely and honestly. If you are uncomfortable answering them, tell the judge, and he/she may ask them privately. Please remember that questions are not asked to embarrass you. They are intended to make sure members of the jury have no opinions or past experiences which might prevent them from making an impartial decision.
How many days and hours you work as a juror depends on the case being heard. The judge may vary daily working hours to accommodate witnesses who have special travel or schedule problems.
You may be surprised by how much waiting you have to do. For example, you may have to wait before you are placed on a jury or if you have been chosen for the jury, you may wait in the jury room while the judge and the lawyers settle questions of law.
Judges and other courtroom personnel will do everything they can to minimize the waiting both before and during the trial.
Sometimes. But, in extremely rare cases, you may be sequestered during the trial or jury deliberations. This is done to assure that jurors don’t hear or see anything about the case that wasn’t mentioned in court.
Yes. Sometimes parties in a case settle their differences only moments before the trial is scheduled to begin. In such circumstances, you will be excused.
Dress comfortably. Suits, ties, and other, more formal wear are not necessary. But don’t get too informal — beachwear, sunglasses, shorts, halter or tank tops are not appropriate in court. Hats may not be allowed unless worn for religious purposes.
Judges and employees of Tulalip Tribal Courts are committed to making jury service accessible to everyone. If you have a hearing, sight or mobility problem, ask a member of the Tulalip court staff for help. It’s important that you let them know.
Tulalip tribal law says employers, “shall provide an employee with sufficient leave of absence from employment when that employee is summoned” for jury duty. It also says employers, “shall not deprive an employee of employment or threaten, coerce, or harass an employee or deny an employee promotional opportunities” for serving as a juror.
Because your absence could delay a trial, it is important that you report each day you are scheduled for jury duty. If a real emergency occurs, such as a sudden illness, accident, or death in the family tell court staff immediately so the trial can be rescheduled.
Jury cases are either criminal or civil.
Civil Cases: Civil cases are disputes between private citizens, corporations, Tulalip tribal government, Tulalip agencies or other organizations. Usually, the party who brings a suit is asking for money damages for some alleged wrong that has been done. For example, a homeowner may sue a contractor for failure to fix a leaky roof. People who have been injured may sue the person or company they feel is responsible for the injury.
The party that brings the suit is called the plaintiff, and the one being sued is called the defendant. There may be several plaintiffs or defendants in the same case.
Criminal Cases: A criminal case is brought by the Tulalip Tribes against one or more persons accused of committing a crime. In these cases, the Tulalip Tribes is the plaintiff and the accused person is the defendant. The defendant is informed of the charge or charges called a complaint or information.
Events in a trial usually happen in a particular order, though the judge may change the order. Here’s the usual order of events: