It’s time for another look into the steps of how a jury is picked. I’m sure you all have been waiting with bated breath. I bet you have just hoping that I would make another post about how the jury magic happens. If you missed the first few steps, you can read it here.
Now that we have the Judge’s Order in “The Special Book”, its time to move on to the next step. I couldn’t believe how many steps it takes to pull a jury. When I first saw the check list I may have started hyperventilating a bit. My whole theory of tossing darts at names was totally shot. I’m thankful that the previous Jury Clerk made the checklist and the amazing manual that helps me along with steps. It’s very, very handy and helpful.
It’s time to pull the Judge’s Calendar to see what cases may happen on the date of the trial. I look up the Judge’s name and the date of the said trial. Then I print off a copy to have for my files. Some days it may show things like hearings and other important Judge stuff. I’m only interested in the trials. Sometimes it’s only one trial and other times it can be several trials that could possibly go. It’s always an exciting mystery. I pull this calendar and set it aside for a bit. I’ll deal with that later. When it only has one trial I get a little thrill because that means my final steps will go quickly. When it’s quite a few trials, I realize that I’m going to be typing A LOT when I get back around to the Judge’s calendar. More on that in another post.
Now comes the fun part, pulling the jury. Yea!!! The Judge’s Order for the trial tells me which Judge is having the trial, the date of the trial, the time of the trial and what courtroom the trial will be held in. In the middle of this Order, is the magical number of how many jurors the Judge wants me to pull. It can be between 60-???. I go into my program and make a new “panel” I put the case number and fill in the dates for the trial, I’m not privy to how long a trial will last, so I always put in default of a week. Finally, I put in the Judge’s name and it’s time to find some jurors. I highlight the Judge’s name and go to the bottom of my screen to hit the button, “Add Jurors”. A box pops up asking me how many jurors I want to pull. I type in the magical number provided by the judge and X number of people pop up in my screen. Which of our amazing Yellowstone County Citizens will I be sending a “Summons for Jury Duty” letter to? Sometimes I hum the theme to that game, “Mystery Date” in my head. Ya, I know I need to get out more.
I have two ways to look at this list of people. One is alphabetically and the other is numerically. I make sure the list is in alphabetical order and make a new document with those names. This is called my “Master List” I also put all the information from the Order at the top of this list. It is handy when I have several trials going and someone calls in and asks a question about the trial they are called for. The list gives me the jurors names, juror numbers, address and phone numbers. This list helps me to keep track of the jurors. Who calls in to say they can make it, who might have been excused and finally who has not called me to tell me they received and summons and I need to call. I have handy stamps that say “OK” and “Excused” that I can use to keep track of everyone. I also save a copy of this on my computer. Now that list is printed off I set it aside for a bit.
Next, I toggle my jurors to numerical and created another document called an “Attorney’s List”. I put the same information as to the date, time, courtroom and Judge on the top of this list as well. This is has the jurors in a random number order 1-??. This is the order that they will be called when it’s time to pick the jury in court.. Eventually, this list will be sent to the attorney/s who are affiliated with the said trial. The program is pretty amazing as it gives the jurors those random numbers and I don’t have to put names in a hat and draw them and record them that way. I make a copy of this list for my file and save a copy on my computer to use later.
Next it’s time to create the summons to send to the jurors. I click a button that says, “Documents” and a box opens up. Ta-dah! I scroll down to “Jury Summons” and click ok. A box pops up with several empty boxes for me to fill in. The Judge’s name, the day/date of the trial, the time of the trial and finally the courtroom number. Then my machine grunts and grinds and suddenly a summons pops up on my screen with the first summons calling a person to jury duty selection. It has their name and address in the upper left corner, which is helpful when it comes time to mail them. I print all of these summons off and then take them to our Mail Goddess in Central Services for her to mail them out for me.
When that is done, I send a note to the Judge’s Assistant (The Judge’s right hand gal or guy) and the Judge’s Clerk (The Judge’s Clerk is in our the District Court office. They are the ones who call the juror’s roll call and take minutes and a whole bunch of other stuff I don’t know what yet, during the trial) This lets them know that I have received the order and mailed out the summons. That way they know I actually mailed the summons to the jurors and the Order is not sitting on my desk collecting dust. I didn’t turn it into a paper airplane or an origami crane.
We still have many more steps before we are done with pulling a jury but this is enough for now.
In my next post I will have dummy copy of a summons and go over the important parts to pay attention to if you do receive a summons. It is a lot of information in one letter and sometimes important stuff gets missed.