Jury Service FAQ

What is my duty as a juror?

Your job as a juror is to listen to all the evidence presented at trial, then "decide the facts" — decide what really happened. The judge's job is to "decide the law" — make decisions on legal issues that come up during the trial. All must do their job well if our system of trial by jury is to work.

You do not need special knowledge or ability to do your job. It is enough that you keep an open mind, use common sense, concentrate on the evidence presented, and be fair and honest in your deliberations.

Remember not to be influenced by sympathy or prejudice. It is vital that you be impartial regarding all testimony and ideas presented at the trial.

What types of cases will I hear?

Jury cases are either criminal or civil.

Civil cases are disputes between private citizens, corporations, governments, government agencies, or other organizations. Usually, the party that brings the 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.

A criminal case is brought by the state, or a city or county, against one or more persons accused of committing a crime. In these cases, the state, city, or county is the plaintiff; the accused person is the defendant.

Is jury service mandatory?

The United States Constitution and the Washington State Constitution guarantee the right to trial by jury. Failure to attend as directed may subject you to penalties provided by law. All Clark County residents are obligated by state law to serve as a juror unless they:

  • Are not a United States citizen;
  • Are under 18 years of age; or
  • Are unable to communicate in the English language.

I have a medical appointment on my jury service date. What should I do?

If your physician feels that you are medically unfit for jury service, please ask them to submit a letter to the address on your summons, or email at juries@clark.wa.gov, noting your juror badge number.

All requests for exemption due to medical, psychiatric, or sensory limitations need to be accompanied with a letter from a physician supporting exemption.

You will receive a confirmation of your excusal from jury service once we process the letter from your physician.

I know that I will not be selected to be on a jury because of what I do for a living. Why not excuse me now and save time?

Superior Court and District Courts hear civil and criminal cases, both of which require juries. The random selection process prevents you from knowing in advance what trial or even what type of trial you will be selected for. When you get to a courtroom, the judge may excuse you from a specific case. Jury Administration staff cannot excuse you as a potential juror because of what you do for a living, your family makeup, or events in your past.

Does my employer have to pay me while I serve?

State law does not currently require employers to continue paying the salary of employees while they are serving as jurors. However, many employers, including state and local government agencies, have a policy which compensates employees for at least part, if not all, the time spent for jury service.

All employers must provide a leave of absence, pursuant to RCW 2.36.165 - Leave of absence from employment to be provided - Denial of promotional opportunities prohibited - Penalty - Civil action. This statute includes the following provisions:

  1. An employer shall provide an employee with a sufficient leave of absence from employment to serve as a juror when that employee is summoned pursuant to Chapter 2.36 RCW.
  2. An employer shall not deprive an employee of employment or threaten, coerce, or harass an employee, or deny an employee promotional opportunity because the employee receives a summons, responds to the summons, serves as a juror, or attends court for prospective jury service.
  3. An employer who intentionally violates subsection (1) or (2) of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
  4. If an employer commits an act in violation of subsection (2) of this section, the employee may bring a civil action for damages because of the violation and for an order requiring the reinstatement of the employee. If the employee prevails, the employee shall be allowed a reasonable attorney's fee as determined by the court.
  5. For purposes of this section employer means any person, association, partnership, or private or public corporation who employs or exercises control over wages, hours, or working conditions of one or more employees.

What do I do in the event of inclement weather?

If the weather conditions are bad and the court determines that it will not require jurors to appear for court services, we will post this information on our website, or you can call 564.397.2400, which is the court's primary information line.

What if I want to postpone my jury service?

If you are unable to report on your service date, you may request that your service be delayed starting no later than 10 months from your original service date. See Excusing/Postponing Jury Service for more information.

Is there parking available for jurors?

Free parking is available in the lots south of the jail, behind the jail to the west, and north in the fleet lot west of the parking garage. Depending on reporting numbers, free juror parking can be limited. There are also 10-hour parking pay stations noted on the map below. Jurors are reimbursed for parking pay, but the court is unable to pay for parking tickets. Parking will be discussed during jury orientation if you are called to appear.

Parking is limited. Jurors are encouraged to take public transportation to the Courthouse. C-Tran provides bus service to downtown Vancouver.  Routes can be found at www.c-tran.com.

 

Parking Map

 

How do I request an accommodation if I need one?

Courthouse handicap parking is available at the 11th & Harney jury parking lot, 13th Street between the Courthouse and Public Service Center, and the Sheriff’s Building parking lot. Handicap-accessible entrance is located at the West entrance. Link to ADA Accommodations request form.

Do I get compensated for my jury service?

Jury fees are set by the County Commissioners of each county. Clark County's current fee is $10 per day of service. Jurors are also reimbursed for round-trip mileage from their residence to the courthouse for each day they report for service. Checks are usually mailed two weeks after the completion of jury service.

How was I chosen for jury service?

The Master List is a combination of eligible Clark County residents ages 18 and over from the driver’s license list, voter registration list, and State Identification card holder’s list.

I have lost my jury summons. What should I do?

If you have lost your Clark County Juror summons, send an email to juries@clark.wa.gov and include your full name, address, and date of birth. You can also refer your badge number, which is the 7-digit number near the barcode, on the reminder cards.

I have received a summons that is addressed to a deceased person. What should I do?

Please note “deceased” on the addressee portion of the summons and return the item to the mailbox. The Post Office will return it to the court.

 

For more information, please see Jury Service, or contact a member of Jury Administration at (564) 397-2049 or juries@clark.wa.gov