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Jury Questionnaires Sent to Local Residents

It’s that time of the year again — time for the local jury qualification process in Arlington and Falls Church.

Questionnaires are being sent to about 10,000 randomly-selected registered voters, per state law, to determine whether they qualify for jury duty in 2012. Recipients are required to complete and return the questionnaires within 10 days of receipt — either via mail or online.

“Jury Commissioners appointed by the Court review the questionnaires to determine eligibility for service according to criteria established by the General Assembly,” the county said in a press release. If selected, a recipient will be asked to serve as a juror on a civil or a criminal trial next year.

“We are fortunate in Arlington and the City of Falls Church to have residents who are so willing to fulfill their commitment as a juror,” said Clerk of the Ciruit Court Paul Ferguson. “Our system of justice could not operate without this valuable public service. The Arlington Circuit Court greatly appreciates the service of everyone who reported last year, and we look forward to greeting new jurors in 2012.”

The average length of a trial in Arlington’s Circuit Court is 1 to 2 days, with the trial days stretching as long as 5:00 p.m. or later. Jurors receive $30 per day in compensation.

Certain individuals are exempt from jury duty, including non-U.S. citizens, convicted felons, residents who’s lived in the county less than 6 months, people with medical conditions, those over the age of 70, primary caregivers to a child or disabled relative, police officers, firefighters, jail employees, practicing attorneys, certain full-time teachers, those who have a hard time hearing or understanding, and people with pending cases before the court.

Jury service may be deferred/postponed if a potential juror has a previously-scheduled trip, is unemployed and seeking a job, is a full-time student or if the jury service would impose a severe financial hardship. Just don’t call with excuses after receiving the questionnaire, officials say.

“The questionnaire is not a summons to appear so please do not call the Clerk’s Office asking for an excuse from jury duty,” the county press release said. “Excuses or postponements to serve at another time during the year can be considered if you are actually summoned to serve as a juror.”

If you don’t return the questionnaire within 10 days, you’ll be summoned to court to complete it.

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