Thank you for serving as a juror for Cowlitz County Superior and District Courts. We appreciate your time and dedication to serving your community. Every attempt is made to minimize the impact of jury service to an individual. Jurors are summoned for only a two week term. However, that does not mean jurors will spend the entire two weeks at the courthouse; jurors are "on call" for jury duty for any trial beginning during the specified term. A trial may extend beyond this term. However, jurors will be advised of the estimated length of the trial at the time of the jury selection process.
Each juror is assigned a group number and a juror number for the two week term of jury service. These numbers are located on the top portion of the Jury Summons which instructs the juror to DETACH and KEEP for reporting purposes. If you register using eResponse, DO NOT use the eResponse site for reporting information - it is for registering only.
The Jury Management office is open Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. You can reach us by phone at (360) 577-3034 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To listen to the Daily Jury Recording, please call 360-577-3110.
Jurors must either call (360) 577-3110 after 5:30 p.m. on the Friday before the first day of jury duty and listen for his or her group number or call our Interactive Voice Recognition (IVR) line at 360-998-4001. The recording will tell the juror which group numbers are supposed to report for jury service on the next court day. The IVR requires your 10 digit Juror number to access and will give your status of service. Or you may look at the web page above called 'Daily Reporting Instructions for Jurors'.
If the juror is not needed to report, the recording will reschedule the juror to check back on another day during the two week term. Then, the juror must call the recording, check IVR or the web page again the night before the next scheduled reporting date for updated reporting instructions.
Please Note: The recording and web page will give the juror specific instructions as to time and place to report for jury duty. The recording runs for 24 hours per day but jurors must not call the recording unless it is the day or weekend before his or her date to report. Otherwise it may be confusing. IVR gives you a daily status of your service.
Alert: All citizens entering the Hall of Justice will have to go through airport style security screening. Please allow extra time for the screening process.
Picking a Jury
After reporting for jury duty, the juror will be selected for a jury panel along with other jurors. The jury panel is sent to the courtroom where the case is being heard. A jury of six or twelve people will be selected in the courtroom. The judge in the courtroom will explain the case and introduce the lawyers and other parties involved.
As part of jury selection, the judge and the lawyers will then question the jury panel individually to determine if anyone has knowledge of the case, a personal interest in it, or any feelings that might make it hard to be impartial. This process is called "voir dire," a phrase meaning "to speak the truth."
Questions asked during voir dire may seem personal but should be answered completely and honestly. The questions are not intended to embarrass anyone but are used to make sure that members of the jury do not have opinions or past experiences which might prevent them from reaching an impartial decision.
During voir dire, the lawyers may ask the judge to excuse a juror from sitting on the case. This is called "challenging a juror." There are two types of challenges; a challenge for cause and a peremptory challenge.
A challenge for cause means the lawyer has a specific reason for thinking that a juror would not be able to be impartial. For example, the case may involve driving under the influence of alcohol. If a juror had been in an accident with a drunk driver and was still upset about it, the defense attorney could ask that the juror be excused for that reason. There is no limit to the number of jurors who may be excused for cause.
Peremptory challenges do not require the lawyers to state any reason for excusing a juror. In Cowlitz County, these challenges are done on paper rather than orally so as not to embarrass the jurors. Peremptory challenges are intended to allow lawyers for both the prosecution and defense to do their best to assure that the jury panel is fair and impartial.