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Annual Juror Qualification Process Begins Soon

by Katie Pyzyk August 28, 2012 at 11:55 am 2,735 39 Comments

The annual process of qualifying residents for Arlington’s juror pool is about to begin.

Starting in early September, the Arlington Circuit Court, which includes the City of Falls Church, will mail out questionnaires to randomly selected residents. The questionnaires are used to qualify residents for jury duty during the 2013 court year, which runs from January 21, 2013 through January 2014.

Around 10,000 residents from Arlington and the City of Falls Church are selected from the registered voter lists provided by the State Board of Elections. Jury Commissioners review the responses on the questionnaires to determine a person’s eligibility to serve as a juror for civil and criminal trials in the Arlington Circuit Court.

Anyone who receives a questionnaire is asked to follow these steps:

  • Read the entire questionnaire carefully, front and back, for detailed instructions.
  • Using your Candidate ID number printed on the questionnaire, visit the secure juror website to complete and submit the questionnaire online (if using this option, do not mail in the form).
  • You may also mail the completed form as instructed in the questionnaire.
  • The questionnaire is not a summons to appear, so please do not call the Clerk’s Office asking for an excuse from jury duty. Excuses or postponements to serve at another time during the year can be considered if you are actually summoned to serve as a juror.

The form must be completed and returned within 10 days of receipt. Failure to respond to the questionnaire may result in being summoned to Court to complete the form in person.

The normal term of service for those who are picked for jury duty is one week, from Monday through Thursday. Trials generally average one to two days, and jurors receive a $30 expense reimbursement for each day they report for service.

More information about jury duty is available on the county’s website.

  • Thes

    Juries protect us against tyranny. Love ’em.

  • nunya

    only been called once, in 20 years. hopefully, with more people in Arlington I’ll be able to say the same in another 20.

    • And The Verdict Is…

      Unfortunately, it does not appear that they cycle through everyone before returning back to you. I have lived in Arlington for close to 20 years and have been called 4 times for petit jury duty (and, while not Arlington related, I was also foreman of an 18 month federal grand jury). My husband, however, has never been called.

  • From the Hill

    I had no idea jurors were only chosen from the ranks of registered voters. So I guess if you don’t register to vote, you will never be called? Seems strange, but I guess they have no other way to do it. Not everyone has a license and people are not required to register with the county when they move to Arlington.

    That is all.

    • cookies

      Some states have expanded the jury pool to include driver’s licenses and utility accounts. I am not sure how the system operates, but the goal was to get everyone involved because apparently there are dunderheads who do not vote because of the remote chance of having to serve on a jury.

  • Steve

    Jury nullification is Constitutional and a duty of all upright citizens. Disagree with the corrupt, harmful drug laws? Think prosecuting prostitution causes more harm than good? Ignore the judge and declare the defendant “not-guilty”. YOU are sovereign in the jury, not the judge, despite what he tells you. There is a reason trial by jury was demanded by the people in the English Civil War. Exercise that right. Veto their laws. Nullify early and often.

    • Dirk Digler

      Isn’t this what juries in Alabama and Mississippi did with defendants charged with murdering civil rights activists?

      • Steve

        Perhaps. And sometimes cops accidentally shoot the wrong person. You don’t say cops can’t have guns. One abuse does not invalidate a principle. Try again.

        • drax

          When the principle is itself abuse, yes, it does.

          • Steve

            Except that it isn’t.

    • Quoth the Raven

      When you serve as a juror, you swear an oath to follow the law and the judge’s instructions. To say that you would go ahead and break that oath b/c in your esteemed opinion the law at issue is wrong is childish. Go back to middle school.

      • Steve

        The judge, despite what he may think, cannot supersede the law. If he tells you jury nullification is not permitted, it is HE, not you, who has violated the law. Trial by jury means exactly that.The defendant is brought in front of his peers and the government makes it’s case, not the other way around. We have the right, and obligation to put unjust laws on trial as well as the “criminals” the state is requesting our permission to imprison.

        One day you’ll be a big boy and understand complicated stuff. That day is a long way away, unfortunately.

        • Quoth the Raven

          What an absolutely ridiculous argument. You do not have the right to put “unjust” laws on trial, because that is not your job as a juror. Your job is to assess the government’s case and to decide whether or not they have met their burden of proof.

          Your job, as a juror, is not to act out some childish anarchy-fantasy where you sit as some sort of all-powerful god striking down unjust laws.

          There are a lot of laws that you or I may not like. That’s why we get to vote – so the people we do or do not vote for pass or repeal certain laws. You know, the whole “representative democracy” thing. But once laws are laws, you have the responsibility, as a citizen, to follow them, and if you don’t, you risk punishment. That’s how an ordered system works. I may think the speed limit is too low, but if I speed, I risk the consequences.

          To quote a famous philospher, you need to understand “what it’s like to be a decent, upstanding member of a society!”

          • Steve

            Of course I have the right to judge unjust laws. I am a citizen and ultimate sovereignty rests with me. Voting is one means of exercising that but a very poor one. A majority of people disagree with some laws. The politicians do not respond. Thankfully, we have another avenue to check their excesses. It is called jury nullification. Disagree in principle with the law? Veto it in court!

            You clearly disagree with me. Fine. But rest assured, if you ever come up for trial and I’m on the jury. You’ll have one person willing to take your case and judge his conscience as a member of your community, as is his right. That’s not seeing myself as “GOD”. It’s seeing the state, and political class, who often pass laws motivated for, shall we say, less than pure motives as “NOT-GOD”

          • Quoth the Raven

            You are basically making an argument for anarchy. Sorry, I don’t buy that.

          • Steve

            Why have trial by jury in the first place? Do you know how and why that right developed in the common law? Why should we leave decisions of guilt or innocence to normal citizens? Please justify how jury trial itself is not tantamount to anarchy.

          • Quoth the Raven

            Well, the simplest answer is “because the Constitution says so”, and it says so not only because of our common law legal system but also because it’s seen as the most fair way possible to judge a defendant’s guilt or innocence. That doesn’t equate to anarchy.

            On the other hand, when you think you get to decide (as the “ultimate sovereign”) which laws to follow or not follow, that’s a lot closer to anarchy.

          • Steve

            I did not say jury trial leads to anarchy. I wanted to see how you defend it given your understanding of modern jurisprudence. So basically “cause the constitution says”. Well we live under a common law system. Precedent has established the right of a jurist to render an innocent verdict, if he feels the law is unjust. Not saying that YOU have to exercise that right, but if you always do what the law says… The law permits jurists to nullify.

          • Quoth the Raven

            Oh, stop it. Jury nullification is relevant when talking about conviction of a violation of fugitive slave laws, not because some dude wants to smoke some weed.

          • Steve

            I’m just telling you the law. The law says I can nullify if and when I want. That is my LEGAL right.

        • drax

          False.

          You take an oath to follow the law. End of discussion. If you can’t do that, don’t serve.

          People were murdered, and the murderers set free, by your little scheme. That was not justice.

          • Steve

            You need to know the law drax. And follow it. The law permits jury nullification. End of discussion.

  • Arlingtoon

    I’ve lived, and been registered to vote, in Arlington for 32 years. And I’ve never been called. My wife, who moved into the County 28 years ago, has been — at least twice that I can recall.

    • Dan

      I hope that she is as lucky with the lottery !!

  • Hung Juror

    I would like to volunteer to serve, but I guess that’s not possible?

    • Clarendon Skank

      let’s talk

      • drax

        LOL I get it.

  • kevin

    Anyone know how to cancel being registered to vote? Frankly I dislike all politician and can never bring myself to vote for anyone anyways.

    • Jane-Dallas

      Anyone know how to cancel being registered to vote?

      If you’re a minority, the Republicans will do it for you.

      • Courthouse Diva

        guess that means minorities don’t have driver’s licenses. didn’t know that.

    • Ugh

      And I bet you’re the first one to complain when the gov’t does something “wrong”

    • drax

      You realize that the reason all politicians suck is because you don’t vote, right kevin? No, probably not.

  • Victoria

    I have been a resident of Arlington for 33 years–and a registered voter for 33 years–yet I have never been called for jury duty!!! Everyone else in my family has!!!!!!!!

  • Arlingtonian

    The justice system does not pay jurors enough. The people who run it prefer to conscript the public by requiring them to perform public duties at peon’s wages. This is like the military draft, which the U.S. has replaced with a better system.

    When faced with a dictatorial system such as this, the best thing to do is to avoid jury service using all possible legal means. One method is to state that you are a conscientious objector, and give a reason that people will believe or that the courts will fear. This worked during the Vietnam war. It should work with jury duty.

    If enough people do this, maybe the courts will decide to pay their jurors a sufficient amount to justify the time and effort involved with this onerous task.

  • bacon

    When I first moved to Arlington I got a jury service letter from my old county. I replied I had moved to VA and sent them a copy of my new VA license. Three weeks later, I got a jury letter from Arlington with the Jury Duty questionnaire.

    A friend who was living in DC got called in California because he still had a CA driver’s license. He didn’t get a DC license because he didn’t own a car. He told the Orange County jury coordinator that he was living in DC, and “Bam!” a week later he gets a letter from the DC courts asking him to report for Jury duty the following Monday.

    Point is, these guys share information for new jury pool prospects.

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