When have you "served" on a jury

I received a jury summons and it has the following question:

“Have you served on a jury before?”

I have been summoned in the past and I was even selected from the pool a few times, and once I was also not excused during voir dire.

However that case was settled and I was sent home before they even called us back in from the jury room.

For the purposes of my service they removed me from the active pool as if I had heard a case, but I don’t think it qualifies as having “served on a jury”
Thanks in advance.

(As a side note I would like to serve but I have been dismissed during voir dire 4 times in the past because I am related to a police officer)

I would say if you never heard testimony, it doesn’t really count.

I think so too. If you answer yes, a few later questions will often enough be “How long ago, what was the case about, and did you come to a decision?” If your panel didn’t come to a decision, the lawyers then get to ask themselves just what part you might have played in the non-decision. But also, they just want to know if you were on any kind of similar case to what’s being heard now.

That is what I assumed, thank you for confirming it.

I was just second guessing myself because they “let me off” the rest of the week term and I wanted to be 100% honest.


I’ve been summoned for jury duty twice and never had to step into a courtroom. But I was told that appearing for service fulfills my obligation and removes me from the potential juror pool for eight years.

Eight years? Wow. IIRC, it’s one year around here. (I’ve only been called once but got vetted in voir dire.)

Yes, that’s what it was when I worked at Hennepin County Court Services – ahowing up ready to be on a jury counted as ‘serving’.

If you are called and you show up, you have served on a jury. You took time off work and got the insultingly low rate they give jurors which doesn’t cover parking and lunch combined.

I was going to respond like the more recent posters, that you did show up, and did everything that you were told to do, and you’re therefore exempt for the near future (“near” varying wildly over varied jurisdictions).

But then I realized that the question as quoted doesn’t mention any time period. For example, if it had asked, “Have you served on a jury in the past year?” or “Have you served on a jury in the past ten years?”, then the purpose of the question would be very clearly to exempt you from the upcoming jury pool, and having shown up in the recent past, you’re off the hook for the next while.

But as quoted, the question seems to be “Have you served on a jury ever before?” And unless there is a followup question like “When?”, I have no idea what the purpose of that question would be. Surely, their jury pool isn’t so large that if someone serves once, then that’s all they need for the rest of their life?

I would not conclude that asking the question is necessarily for the purpose of excluding potential jurors.

In Ohio criminal cases, jeopardy attaches when the now-selected jury is sworn in, before it has even heard opening statements or testimony. So if the defendant, not liking the looks of the jury, then immediately copped a plea, I’d say you could still truthfully say you’d served.

I served on a couple of juries years ago in the really big city, which is half the size now.
I was the jury foreman in both cases and both were hung juries. Does that say anything about me? One case was an armed robbery of a small diner. Six customers were robbed at gunpoint face to face with the robber. Five witnesses picked the defendant in a picture line-up. The sixth refused to pick a suspect and said, “I ain’t convicting no man on a picture.” Two jurors hung there hat on that as “reasonable doubt” that the defendant was the perpetrator. Go figure.

PS. I refuse to serve on any more juries in this county.

shrug Without knowing more of the facts of the case I can’t definitely say this is a travesty of justice or not. I’m not particularly trusting of eyewitnesses. 38% of misidentification cases involve multiple witnesses fingering the wrong perp.

Now, what are the chances 5 witnesses were wrong? I don’t have the facts to judge. If all the other facts convincingly point to this guy, then that’s just another piece of the puzzle for conviction. I would find it difficult to convict based solely on eye witnesses. (I am assuming there is more to this, but your statement alone doesn’t make it obvious he should have been convicted, as you seem to think.) Conversely, I wouldn’t vote against conviction based on one eye witness reluctant to finger a man in a photo line-up.

That’s a tough call. In Milwaukee, the question was “Have you been called to jury duty in the last 4 years” I wasn’t sure since I was a reserve juror, never called in and didn’t know when it was. I checked yes and wrote that down. A few days later I got a letter from them explaining that it was more then 4 years ago and that I still needed to serve.
So from what I could tell, checking the ‘yes’ box just triggered a human to double check. I would say you check ‘yes’ and write a sentence explaining your situation. Or just call the number they gave you and ask them.

This was my thinking when I replied originally. Well put.

I just double checked, and in Cook County it is one year for jury service, and showing up counts, even if you don’t sit on a trial. (That site doesn’t make it clear, but when we were called in, we were specifically told that our presence, whether we actually get placed in a potential juror pool or not, fulfills our service obligation and we get thrown out of the pool of 12 months. Obviously, as this thread indicates, this varies wildly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. I’m still amazed at being exempted for eight years being the norm in some localities. Plus, I’m not sure whether this applies to being called to another jury, like a federal one. I suspect not.)

IMNSHO, when you turn in the jury summons, you have “served”. Whether you are seated on a jury is up to chance and voir dire.

Quoth Al Bundy:

No, but it does say something about the guy that was #5 on the juries.

How does that work?

The same question appears on our jury notices and I always reply with:

“No, I’ve never had the pleasure of convicting some bastard but I’m ready this time!”

It seems to work.