Jury duty is one of the more important responsibilities we have as citizens. The right to trial by jury is guaranteed in our federal and state constitutions for a reason; it is essential that our criminal and civil disputes be decided by juries of fellow citizens. Thomas Jefferson said, “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor yet imagined by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution." “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people” is embodied through jury service so thank you in advance for participating in this noble institution.
The jury service PSA:
- How are jurors selected for Federal Way Municipal Court?
- How will I know if I am selected to appear for jury duty?
- Do I need to report to court on the dates listed on the summons or will I be notified if I am to appear?
- What is my commitment if I am summoned for jury duty?
- What is the legal consequence for not appearing for jury duty if I am summoned to appear?
- Can I lose my job if I attend jury duty?
- Can I reschedule my jury service or be excused from jury service?
- How do I contact the court about jury service?
- How much am I paid for jury service?
- How long do trials last?
- Is food or other amenities available at the courthouse?
How are jurors selected for Federal Way Municipal Court?
Potential jurors are randomly selected from a master list of people who are registered voters or who possess a driver’s license in zip codes assigned to the city.
Do I need to report to court on the dates listed on the summons or will I be notified if I am to appear?
If you are summoned as a juror you will be required to call the Court at (253) 835-3001 after 5:00 p.m. on the day before you are scheduled to appear to confirm that your presence is necessary. You will be required to appear in court based upon the instructions on the recorded message.
What is my commitment if I am summoned for jury duty?
Your maximum obligation to appear for jury service will be two consecutive Wednesdays during the month if you are not selected to serve on a trial.
What is the legal consequence for not appearing for jury duty if I am summoned to appear?
RCW 2.36.070 provides that, “A person summoned for jury service who intentionally fails to appear as directed shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.”
Can I lose my job if I attend jury duty?
You certainly need to coordinate with your employer. RCW 2.36.165 requires an employer to give you a leave of absence. There are remedies available to you if your employer violates this law.
Can I reschedule my jury service or be excused from jury service?
Yes to both. The law allows the court to permit you to reschedule for another jury term that is within one year of the original requested service without any showing of need on your part. You may be excused from jury service if you can show the court the existence of undue hardship, extreme inconvenience, public necessity, if you have served two weeks of jury service in any court within the past one year period, or for any other reason deemed sufficient by the court for a period of time the court deems necessary.
The court can choose to excuse you entirely from jury service or the court may require you to appear for another jury term within one year. You will need written proof of the exemption if you are claiming a medical exemption, a job related exemption, or jury service within the past year.
How do I contact the court about jury service?
The best way to contact the court is through email. If you do not have email then you can send a letter to the court at:
Attn: Jury Coordinator
Federal Way Municipal Court
33325 8th Avenue South
Federal Way, WA 98003
How long do trials last?
Jury trials, if held, begin every Wednesday. Jury selection is usually, but not always, completed by noon. If you are selected to sit on a jury you should know that trials normally, but not always, last one to two days, including deliberation. You are normally free to leave the courthouse from noon to 1:30 p.m. for a lunch break. Court usually ends at 4:30 p.m.
The court does not have dining facilities. No refreshments are provided, but vending machines for water and soda are available. You can bring your own refreshments, reading materials, and computers, but there are no facilities for refrigerating or heating food items and no storage for personal belongings.