Legal Dictionary

jury duty

Definition of jury duty


jury duty (uncountable)

  1. A period of time during which a person is obliged to be a member of a panel of people who may be called as members of one or more juries.

    I can't come to work next week as I am on jury duty and I can't get out of it.

Further reading

Jury duty is service as a juror in a legal proceeding. When a person is called for jury duty in the United States, that service is usually not optional: one must attend or face strict penalties. Employers are not allowed to fire an employee simply for being called to jury duty. (However, they are typically not required to pay salaries during this time.) When attended, potential jurors may be asked to serve as a juror in a trial, or they may be dismissed. See jury selection. Jury duty has been criticized by some libertarian groups as involuntary servitude that is akin to conscription.

Juror selection process

Once a potential juror has entered the courthouse, they must fill out a jury questionnaire, which asks about their background. Once the forms are filled out, jurors wait in the juror room until called. Once called, a group of jurors will be escorted to the courtroom and the judge will begin to call names. The judge and attorneys for each side will use the voir dire, a series of questions, to determine if a juror is acceptable for the case being tried. The prosecutor and defense may dismiss potential jurors for various reasons, which may vary from one state to another, and they may have a specific number of arbitrary dismissals which do not have to be for specific reasons. The judge may also dismiss potential jurors.

Some courts have been sympathetic to jurors' privacy concerns and refer to jurors by number, and conduct voir dire in camera. There have also been Fifth Amendment challenges and medical privacy (e.g., HIPAA) objections to this.


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2.     lex fori
3.     lex situs
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6.     lex domicilii
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9.     lex loci delicti commissi
10.     Clayton's Case