Idaho Supreme Court Handbook for Jurors
Juror Qualification Form Summons for Jury Duty
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding jury duty, and information useful to those called upon to serve.
HOW DID I GET SELECTED?
The jury selection process is a random selection of names taken from the "Master Jury Wheel," which is created from a master list (from two sources), pursuant to Idaho Code 2-206: the Boundary County voter list and the State of Idaho Department of Transportation drivers license records. The "Jury Wheel" is selected from the master list in December of each odd-numbered year. The master list has an average of 8,500 names; each Jury Wheel contains 3,500 names, meaning that each person has almost 50/50 odds of being selected every two years (if only Lottery odds were that good!). The wheel list is divided into six jury panels, with each panel in place for a four-month period; January 1 through April 30, May 1 through August 31 and September 1 through December 31.
HOW LONG AND HOW OFTEN WILL I BE CALLED UPON TO SERVE?
A jury panel service term in Boundary County is four months. Once you have served a full jury panel, you will not have to serve again for two years. Should your name come up before two years have elapsed, you may request not to serve and your request will be granted (please see question 5 and question 18 on the jury qualification form). Once you are selected for a jury panel, you will be assigned a juror number. On average, your juror number will be drawn once per month. It is not unusual that court dates get cancelled, and it is possible that you may go through a four month jury service panel without having to come to the courthouse; the average attendance is two half-days during the four month panel.
HOW DO I GET OUT OF JURY DUTY?
Idaho Code 2-211 provides "No qualified prospective juror is exempt from jury service. You are a qualified juror if you are 18 years of age or older, a citizen of the United States, a resident of Boundary County, and able to read, speak and understand the English language. However, if you have a felony record and are still on probation or parole you will be disqualified. If you are age 70 or older you may request to be excused on the jury qualification form.
CAN I POSTPONE SERVING ON A JURY?
There are a few special circumstances which may allow you to request a postponement from one jury panel to another, for example, being a nursing mother or if you have a temporary medical condition. Requests for postponement must be made in writing and submitted with your jury qualification form. Be sure to include in your request a day-time phone number where you can be reached.
WHAT IF I NEED A DAY OFF?
Arrangements can be made to be excused from jury duty for short periods of time. If you have a medical appointment, a special family event, including a pre-planned vacation , wedding, or a pressing employment situation that will cause you to be out of the area. You must contact the jury commissioner in writing a least 30 days in advance. You may do this by regular mail to PO BOX 419 Bonners Ferry, Id. 83805 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You must include your name, juror number, day time phone number, the reason, and the dates requested. You may also include your email address for a confirmation response.
I HAVE A MEDICAL CONDITION ... DO I STILL HAVE TO SERVE?
A doctor's certificate for release from jury service is included in your jury packet on the back of the summons form. This form should not be used for medical conditions that are temporary, such as colds, pregnancy or broken bones. These can be dealt with a temporary excuse from jury duty or by postponement. If you have a chronic condition which makes it impossible for you to serve, have your physician fill out the certificate and return it with your juror qualification form. The court may require any person requesting to be excused for a medical reason to provide documentation from their medical care provider, and medical providers may be contacted for verification.
MY BOSS CAN'T DO WITHOUT ME ... DO I STILL HAVE TO SERVE?
Almost everyone called for jury duty is employed, and it would not be appropriate to have only unemployed or retired citizens as jurors; this would hardly comprise a jury of one's peers. The court will try to work with all prospective jurors to reduce potential inconvenience or accommodate special circumstances. Keep in mind that you will usually have two to three weeks advance notice of jury trial dates. Keep in mind, too, that the majority of trials only last a day or two.
HOW WILL I KNOW WHEN I HAVE JURY DUTY?
This information is included in the packet mailed to you when your name is selected for service on a jury panel. The Summons for Jury Duty also contains other important information, including when to call the jury duty information line.
You should check this site or call this number at least once per weekend for the four months the panel is active and listen to the recorded message that specifies the days each juror (by juror number) should appear. The jury duty information line, (208) 267-0924, should only be called when the courthouse is closed; from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. Monday through Friday or on weekends and holidays. During office hours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., this number can be used to contact the jury commissioner, or, if not available, to leave a message. When you call the jury duty information line, you will hear a message similar to this:
"Please listen to this entire message for jury duty information for panel six jurors who are serving from September first through December 31st. Jury duty for Thursday, October 14th. Jurors 600 through 650 should report at 9:15 a.m. Thursday, October 14th. Jury duty for Monday, November eighth. Jurors 653 through 784 should report at 9 a.m. Monday, November eighth. Jury duty for Wednesday, November 10th. Jurors 785 through 876 should report at 9:15 a.m. Wednesday, November 10th. Please call once per week and don't forget to call the night before these scheduled trial dates. If you have any questions, call this number Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m."
You will usually have a two to three week advance notice of trial dates for which you must appear. Your juror number is listed on the bottom of the information and summons page included in your jury packet. Your juror number is the number you will need to determine when you are scheduled to appear. The panel number, also included on the information and summons sheet, is the designator for the entire panel serving for that four-month period.
WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT WHEN I APPEAR FOR JURY DUTY?
When you arrive at the courthouse, proceed to the third floor, where you will find a table in the main courtroom at the top of the stairs with a sign-in sheet with juror numbers listed in numerical order. Sign beside your juror number and be seated. On your first trial date, there will be a brief orientation, which will be followed by jury selection. On average, the jury selection process takes from one to three hours. On occasion, there may be circumstances that will preclude the need for a jury that day; should this occur, prospective jurors will be excused as quickly as possible. Recognizing the inconvenience, the court makes every attempt to avoid having jurors appear when not needed. Following the selection process, prospective jurors not selected to sit on the trial are excused and are free to leave or stay to observe; all trials are open to the public.
WHAT IF I'M SUMMONED FOR GRAND JURY?
Grand juries have recently come back into use in Boundary County, and it is possible that at some point during your jury service period you may be selected to serve on a grand jury. This could extend your jury service for a short while, as grand juries are selected for a six-month period. Grand juries usually convene only once per month in the evening, and sessions usually last only a few hours. If you are selected for a grand jury, the entire process will be explained at that time.
WILL I GET PAID FOR SERVING ON A JURY?
Those selected for jury duty receive $5 for a half days' service and $10 for a full day, plus 56 cents per mile round trip from residence to the courthouse. Jurors may elect to donate jury fees to the Boundary County Community Justice Department, to help fund their juvenile programs such as the Youth Accountability Board, Community Service, and Restitution Programs. Juvenile Services are based on Restorative Justice and the Balanced Approach, equally balancing Accountability, Community Safety, and Competency Development. You can donate your jury fees by marking "yes" on question 7 on your juror qualification form.