Persons receiving a Jury Summons from the Benton County Clerk's Office have been randomly chosen from the pool of prospective jurors.
Prospective jurors must complete and return the juror questionnaire portion of the summons within five (5) days of receipt. All information received will be treated confidentially. It is important to provide complete information so that the court can either qualify you to serve or excuse you from service. View a copy of the jury questionnaire that appears on the Jury Summons. Please detach and retain the lower portion of the summons that contains your candidate number, group number and reporting information.
If a prospective juror encounters circumstances, such as personal emergencies, reasonable accommodations will be made to defer service to a later date. Every special circumstance will be addressed on an individual basis and should be referred to the Clerk's Office. View a copy of the exemption and deferment request that appears on the Jury Summons.
Each juror is assigned a group number and candidate id number for the two week term of jury service.
Jurors must call the assigned phone number after 6:00 p.m. on the Friday before the first day of jury duty and listen to the entire message for his or her reporting date and time. The recording will tell the juror if they are supposed to report for jury service on the next court day. (Reminder: Please listen to the entire recording)
If the juror is not needed to report, they need to call the jury number each weekend prior to a week included in their jury term.
Most jury trials last 3 to 4 days and jurors are free to return home in the evenings. Jurors are usually asked to report one time or serve on one trial.
Jurors are selected at random from lists of Benton County voter registrations, drivers licenses, and Washington State identification cards. The lists are combined and duplicate names are eliminated. However, different spellings or name variations may result in duplication.
An employer (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) shall provide an employee with a sufficient leave of absence from employment to serve as a juror when that employee is summoned. State law (RCW 2.36.165) says employers "shall not deprive an employee or threaten, coerce, or harass an employee or deny an employee promotional opportunities" for serving as a juror. If an employer commits an act in violation of this RCW, the employee may bring a civil action for damages as a result of this violation. However, an employer is not required to compensate the employee while away for jury service.
To qualify for jury duty, you must:
- Be a citizen of the United States
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Reside in Benton County
- Be able to communicate in the English language (RCW 2.36.070)
- Not be a convicted felon or if convicted, must have had your rights restored
Very few people are excused from jury duty. Jurors will be excused only upon a demonstration of undue financial hardship or extreme inconvenience or for other reasons deemed adequate by the court. (RCW 2.36.100) Any juror wishing to be excused from service must complete the jury questionnaire.
If there is a medical reason why a person cannot serve, a physician's written verification which details why the juror cannot serve and the length or duration of the illness or problem must be provided. The juror will be notified if the request is denied.
REQUESTS FOR POSTPONEMENTS
If a juror has vacation plans or special appointments and/or events during the term that he or she is scheduled for jury duty, he or she may request to have their jury duty postponed to a different term. Notice will be mailed of the postponement and the juror will be resummoned at a later date. Please do not call the Clerk's Office asking to be excused over the phone as phone requests cannot be considered.
Failure to appear for jury duty is a misdemeanor under RCW 2.36.170 and may result in the issuance of a warrant. If you are unable to report as instructed, you must notify the Clerk's Office immediately during regular office hours.
Jurors are paid $10 per day and mileage at the current State rate. Checks are usually issued two to four weeks after the jury term ends by the County Auditor. Call the Jury Deputy at 509-735-8388 with any questions.
- Dress appropriately. Dress slacks, shirt, skirt, or blouse show respect for the court. Clean jeans and dress shirt would also be acceptable. Hats are not allowed.
- Food or drinks are not allowed in the courtroom.
- Weapons of any kind are not allowed in the courthouse.
- The courtroom is not an appropriate place for children. Please arrange for someone to watch your children when you report for jury duty.
You may park in the parking lot located in front of the Benton County Justice Center. Handicapped parking is also available. For those wishing to use the Ben Franklin Transit, please call (509) 735-5100 or view route and schedule information.