Earlier this week, we had a jury appreciation event. Jury service is an important and essential part of the justice system but there are a lot of misconception about it. Our District Court Jury Services employees revealed the top 10 misconceptions about jury service.

  1. Jury service is boring.Serving on a jury can be a very interesting, informative and rewarding life experience.  It gives those who serve on a jury a front row seat to our justice system and valuable insight on how it works.
  2. Jury duty lasts for weeks or months at a time. – In reality, jury duty for the majority of people lasts only one day if required to appear. On average, only 50 percent of people end up being required to report when summoned; seven percent end up being sent to the courtroom; and only one percent actually serve on a jury. The average jury trials in the Eighth Judicial District Court last three to five days (there are exceptions).
  3. Employers won’t allow attendance, will fire or take action against employees, or will require them to work while on jury duty. – Pursuant to Nevada Revised Statutes Chapter 6.190, employers must allow employees to attend jury and it is unlawful to take any action against a person for performing his or her civic duty. In addition, employers are prohibited from requiring employees to use sick leave or vacation time to serve jury duty, and may not require the person to work within eight hours before serving, or to work if jury service (including time going to and from court) will take four or more hours.
  4. A warrant for arrest will automatically be issued or a person will automatically be fined if jury duty is missed. – There is due process for failure to appear for jury duty. The first step is to automatically summon the person to appear again within sixty days. Failing to appear a second time makes a person subject to additional consequences. The one exception would be if someone has already appeared and been assigned to a case panel or jury and then fails to show up during the trial. In that instance, the judge could use sanctions. The court does not contact people by phone to solicit money for failure to serve on jury duty.
  5. Stating that you can’t be fair for whatever reason will warrant immediate excusal. – Each juror must face a judge and state any prejudices or biases under oath in open court.
  6. Being a convicted felon automatically excludes one from serving and will get a person out of jury duty. – If an individual has been convicted of a felony and has had his or her civil rights restored, he or she is eligible to serve on a jury. There are certain classes of felony where civil rights are automatically restored.
  7. Professional people do not have to serve on jury duty. – Doctors, lawyers, teachers, military, executives, government workers, court staff, and people from all professions are eligible for jury duty. If a person is a qualified elector in the state (i.e., eligible to vote whether or not the right is exercised), he or she is eligible to serve. There are certain exemptions under the law for matters of safety and security and for legislators in session.
  8. If selected as a juror I will be sequestered. – While the court has this option, it is rarely exercised. Jurors are kept separate from the public as much as reasonably possible while serving. As a general rule, jurors are allowed to go home after court.
  9. I am being targeted for jury duty every 18 months or as a result of past tickets or law violations. – The jury management system summons people from all demographic areas and zip codes in the community on a random basis. That is why some people may end up being summoned again as soon as 18 months later and others don’t serve for years or may never be called. If someone has changed his or her last name, it is possible he or she could be summoned again. If this occurs, individuals should contact jury services. It is possible to receive a summons from the District Court and also to be summoned by Federal Court.
  10. I can’t serve if I am over a certain age. – The court does not exclude anyone of legal age from serving jury duty. Individuals who are 70 years and older (or 65 years old and having to travel more than 65 miles), have the option of choosing to be exempt from serving jury duty.