Orange County Insight September 2022

Understanding the Jury Duty Selection Process

By: Orange County Communications Department

Serving on a jury is one of the many civic responsibilities of citizenship. However, it is sometimes a cause of confusion for residents. To begin to demystify the jury duty process, it helps to understand how jurors are selected. In Virginia, jurors are chosen from a local pool of eligible residents. These residents must meet certain qualifications, such as being 18 or older, having lived in Virginia for at least a year, and having not served on a jury, that actually went to trial, within the past three years.

The first step in establishing the pool of eligible residents is to distribute an annual questionnaire, by mail, to those randomly selected from lists provided by the State Board of Elections and the Department of Motor Vehicles. Orange County ’ s Circuit Court Clerk partners with ezJURY for distribution of these questionnaires. Questionnaires sent through this system may display a Maryland return address, but are still legitimate communications sent on behalf of the Clerk ’ s Office. The partnership with ezJURY alleviates

some of the time - consuming sorting work which fell on the limited staff of the Clerk ’ s Office, allowing them to focus on higher priority tasks. This year In particular, the work of the Clerk ’ s Office has increased drastically; the potential number of jury trials is more than five times higher than an average year. Not everyone who receives a questionnaire will selected. Those chosen will receive a summons notice approximately one month in advance of the date they should appear for duty. Be aware that this notice is an official summons. Failure to appear is

2023 Jury Questionnaires may appear like the above example due to the new partnership with ezJURY.

cause for being found in contempt of court. However, those chosen should know that most trials do not actually move through a full court proceeding. They may be null processed, continued, or the defendant may accept a plea deal. If this occurs, the jury duty hotline, (540) 672 - 6165, is updated the night before a trial date to alert potential jurors that they do not need to appear. Please be aware that the Clerk ’ s Office DOES NOT call jurors; jurors must call the hotline for updated information, and should do so on the evening before the date they were selected to appear.

The jury duty hotline number is (540) 672 - 6165 . Prospective jurors

should call this number on the

It is possible to receive multiple summons within a relatively short time. This occurs because the pool of eligible jurors is limited and, particularly this year, a large number of trials can cause repeat random selections. Selection does not exempt a juror from future service for a period of time unless they actually sit on the jury during trial proceedings. Those with questions about jury duty should contact the Clerk ’ s Office at (540) 672 - 6162. evening before their selected trial date.

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