Though most of us cherish our freedoms, few of us enjoy contributing to one of the cornerstones of those freedoms: ensuring our fellow citizens receive a fair trial by a jury of their peers.
Yes, one of your most important responsibilities as a Kentucky citizen is jury duty.
If you’re 18 years or older, a U.S. citizen, able to speak and understand English, are a resident of the county in which the case will be tried, are not a convicted felon, are not under indictment and haven’t served on a jury within the past 24 months, you qualify for jury duty.
If you’re selected by the Administrative Office of the Courts for your county’s jury pool, you’ll receive a summons in the mail at least 30 days prior to the day you’re to report. Failure to report may result in a $1,000 fine or imprisonment of up to three days, or both.
By Kentucky law, you’re required to be available for jury duty for 60 court days. Although you’re on call during that time, you’re usually only required to report for jury selection a few times.
During the jury selection process, there are several ways you may be excused:
You may be challenged and “removed for cause” if you’re related to anyone involved in the case
In a criminal case, you may be excused if you’ve formed an opinion of the defendant’s guilt or innocence prior to the trial
Both the plaintiff and defendant have a number of peremptory challenges with which they can exclude you for no stated reason (the number of challenges varies depending whether it’s a civil or criminal case)
Once you’re selected and have been sworn in, you will remain with the jury for the duration of the trial. You’ll be asked to impartially evaluate the case solely on the evidence provided by each side and by the instructions given by the court.
So, don’t consider jury duty an inconvenience to be avoided at all costs. Consider it duty that should be performed with pride. If you were on trial, isn’t that what you’d hope your peers were doing?
If you’ve served on a trial and felt good about contributing to the judicial process, jump in the comments and tell us your jury duty story. That is, of course, so long as you weren’t ordered not to discuss the trial afterwards by the judge.
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