Jury Service - Frequently Asked Questions
Is jury service mandatory?
The United States Constitution and the Washington State Constitution guarantee the right to trial by jury. Failure to attend as directed may subject you to penalties provided by law. All King County residents are obligated by state law to serve as a juror unless they:
- Are not a United States citizen;
- Are under 18 years of age; or
- Are unable to communicate in the English language.
Can I be exempted from jury service?
Only those requests viewed as undue hardships will be granted an exemption from reporting for jury selection. Undue hardship means more than inconvenience or difficulty serving. It means circumstances that make it truly unfair for you to serve, such that someone else should serve in your place.
Often an undue hardship can be alleviated by rescheduling. Your jury duty obligation can be postponed (deferred) one or two times for up to one year each time. You must postpone your service prior to your current report date. To reschedule your service, call (206) 477-1324 or visit the Juror Information webpage.
How long am I obligated to serve?
Jury duty is a two-day minimum obligation. The average trial is about 1.5 weeks.
If you are selected to a trial that will last longer than two days, you will have the opportunity to express any undue hardship directly to the trial court judge. If you are not assigned to a trial at the close of business on the second day of service, you will be discharged.
I have a planned vacation on the date I have been summonsed. Should I request an exemption?
No. Your jury duty obligation can be postponed (deferred) one or two times for up to one year each time. You must postpone your service prior to your current report date. To reschedule, call (206) 477-1324 or visit the Juror Information webpage.
I am a full-time student. Are students exempt from jury service.
No. Students should take advantage of the postponement option. Most students opt to serve during term breaks. This also applies to out-of-state students. Call (206) 477-1324 or visit the Juror Information webpage.
I am self-employed. Are the self-employed exempt from jury duty?
There are no occupational or professional exemptions from this obligation of citizenship, and the self-employed are not excluded.
I have a medical appointment on my jury duty date. What should I do?
Please consider the postponement option. Call (206) 477-1324 or reschedule online via the Juror Information webpage.
If your physician feels that you are medically unfit for jury duty and will not recuperate in the coming year, please ask her/him to submit a letter to the address on your summons, noting your juror badge number.
All requests for exemption due to medical, psychiatric, or sensory limitations need to be accompanied with a letter from a physician supporting exemption.
I am unemployed and receiving unemployment benefits. Will serving on jury duty affect my benefits?
The compensation you receive for reporting as a prospective juror or serving on a jury must be reported and deducted from your unemployment benefits. For more information, visit the Washington State Employment Security Division webpage.
How many times can I postpone my service?
You can postpone one or two times for up to one year each time. You should take care of postponing your service prior to the date for which you are currently summonsed. Jury summonses are sent via bulk mail several weeks in advance; please DO NOT request a new date earlier than 8 weeks beyond your current date. If you request a date that conflicts with the court calendar or is otherwise unavailable, you will be scheduled for the next available pool date.
Is there an age limit?
All jurors need to be at least 18 years of age. No citizen over 18 is excluded from consideration due to age. If your physician feels you are physically unable to perform the duties of a juror or are unable to travel to the courthouse, please ask her/him to submit a letter to the court supporting an exemption.
I know that I will not be selected to be on a jury because of what I do for a living. Why not excuse me now and save time?
Superior Court tries civil and criminal cases, both of which require juries. The random selection process prevents you from knowing in advance what trial or even what type of trial you will be selected for. When you get to a courtroom, the judge may excuse you from a specific case. Jury Service staff cannot excuse you as a potential juror because of what you do for a living, your family makeup, or events in your past.
Does my employer have to pay me while I serve?
State law does not currently require employers to continue paying the salary of employees while they are serving as jurors. However, many employers, including state and local government agencies, have a policy which compensates employees for at least part, if not all, the time spent for jury service.
All employers must provide a leave of absence, pursuant to RCW 2.36.165 -- Leave of absence from employment to be provided -- Denial of promotional opportunities prohibited — Penalty -- Civil action. This statute includes the following provisions:
(1) An employer shall provide an employee with a sufficient leave of absence from employment to serve as a juror when that employee is summoned pursuant to Chapter 2.36 RCW.
(2) An employer shall not deprive an employee of employment or threaten, coerce, or harass an employee, or deny an employee promotional opportunities because the employee receives a summons, responds to the summons, serves as a juror, or attends court for prospective jury service.
(3) An employer who intentionally violates subsection (1) or (2) of this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(4) If an employer commits an act in violation of subsection (2) of this section the employee may bring a civil action for damages as a result of the violation and for an order requiring the reinstatement of the employee. If the employee prevails, the employee shall be allowed a reasonable attorney's fee as determined by the court.
(5) For purposes of this section employer means 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.
What do I do in the event of inclement weather?
If the weather conditions are bad and the court determines that it will not require jurors to appear for court services, we will post this information on our website, or you can call (206) 477-1400, which is the court's primary information line.
Can I volunteer for jury duty?
Current law makes no provision for volunteer jurors. The court relies on a process that assures a random selection from the entire county. This means that some will be called often and some citizens will never be summonsed. If you have served in the past year (12 months) King County Superior Court is happy to excuse you from your current summons.
If your service was with Superior Court, just contact us and request exemption. If you served with a different jurisdiction, please ask that court for a letter confirming your service and send that to us along with the lower portion of your summons, and we will process the exemption. Thank you for serving…wherever you served!
Will I be compensated for jury duty?
Yes. Jurors currently earn $10.00 per day of service. You also will receive compensation for your transportation costs to and from the courthouse, based on your transportation method. The court will fully reimburse you for your train, light rail, bus, ferry, or water taxi fare. If you drive to the courthouse and park, you will be given a mileage allowance; however, we cannot compensate you for parking costs.
Checks are sent out every two weeks, so your check may not reflect your entire compensation. Please wait at least two weeks after your last day of service for your final check.
How was I chosen for jury duty?
Your name was selected at random from a list of names generated from voter registration, driver’s license, and "identicard" records. Every year the Administrative Office for the Courts in Olympia creates a new list of names for every court in King County. It is possible that you will be summoned by one or more courts in the same year or over the course of several years.
What if I have recently served? Can I be excused?
I have lost my jury summons. What should I do?
If you have reported for jury duty in Superior Court within the past 12 months, we are happy to excuse you from your current summons. Log onto our new juror scheduling system and request to be excused, noting that you have served recently with Superior Court.
If you have lost your King County Superior Court summons, please visit this webpage: http://www.kingcounty.gov/how-do-i/jury-duty.aspx.
Can I bring reading material or a laptop?
You are welcome to bring reading material and laptops since our locations have wireless internet access. All persons and packages will be subject to security screening.
If you have served with any other jurisdiction, please contact that court and request written verification of your service. Forward that to us, along with the lower portion of the Superior Court summons, and an exemption will be processed.
Return to the Juror Information Webpage