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Jury Information

Jury Duty Forms

A Juror's Guide to Tulalip Tribal Court

Welcome to Jury Service!

(“Your”) job as a juror is to listen to all the evidence presented at trial, then “decide the facts” - decide what really happened. The judge’s job is to “decide the law” - make decisions on legal issues that come up during the trial. All must do their job well if our system of trial by jury is to work.

You do not need special knowledge or ability to do your job. It is enough that you keep an open mind, use common sense, concentrate on the evidence presented, and be fair and honest in your deliberations.

Remember: Don’t be influenced by sympathy or prejudice. It is vital that you be impartial with regard to all testimony and ideas presented at the trial.

We hope you find your experience as a juror interesting and satisfying. Thanks for your willingness to serve for jury duty!

Frequently Asked Questions

  • First, your name was selected at random from enrollment and/or employment records. Then, your answers to the juror questionnaire were evaluated to make sure you were eligible for jury service.

    To be eligible, you must be at least 18 years of age, and either a Tulalip Tribal member living on or near the Tulalip Indian Reservation, a resident of the Tulalip Indian Reservation, or an employee of the Tulalip Tribes or any of its entities, agencies, or subdivisions for at least one continuous year.

    Those eligible may be excused from jury service if they have illnesses which would interfere with their ability to do a good job, would suffer great hardship if required to serve, or are unable to serve for other legitimate reasons.

    In short, you were chosen because you are eligible and able to serve. You are now part of the “jury pool” - a group of citizens from which trial juries are chosen.
  • In the courtroom, your judge will tell you about the case and then introduce lawyers and others who are involved in the case. You will also take an oath, in which you will promise to answer all questions truthfully. After you are sworn in, the judge and the lawyers will question you and other members of the panel to find out if you have any knowledge about the case, any personal interest in it, or feelings that might make it hard for you to be impartial. This questioning process is called voir dire which means “to speak the truth.”

    Though some questions may seem personal, you should answer them completely and honestly. If you are uncomfortable answering them, tell the judge and he/she may ask them privately.

    Remember: Questions are not asked to embarrass you. They are intended to make sure members of the jury have no opinions or past experiences which might prevent them from making an impartial decision.
  • How many days and hours you work as a juror depends on the case being heard. The judge may vary daily working hours to accommodate witnesses who have special travel or schedule problems.

    You may be struck by how much waiting you have to do. For example, you may have to wait before you are placed on a jury. During trial, you may have to wait in the jury room while the judge and the lawyers settle questions of law.

    Judges and other courtroom personnel will do everything they can to minimize the waiting both before and during the trial.
  • Sometimes. But, in extremely rare cases, you may be “sequestered” during the trial or during jury deliberations. This is done to assure that jurors don’t hear or see anything about the case that wasn’t mentioned in court.
  • Yes. Sometimes parties in a case settle their differences only moments before the trial is scheduled to begin. In such circumstances you will be excused.
  • Dress comfortably. Suits, ties, and other, more formal wear are not necessary. But don’t get too informal — beach wear, sunglasses, shorts, halter or tank tops are not appropriate in court. Hats may not be allowed unless worn for religious purposes.
  • Judges and employees of Tulalip Tribal Courts are committed to making jury service accessible to everyone. Remember: If you have a hearing, sight or mobility problem, ask a member of the Tulalip Court staff for help.
  • Tulalip Tribal law says employers, “shall provide an employee with sufficient leave of absence from employment when that employee is summoned” for jury duty. It also says employers, “shall not deprive an employee of employment or threaten, coerce, or harass an employee or deny an employee promotional opportunities” for serving as a juror.
  • Because your absence could delay a trial, it is important that you report each day you are required to. If a real emergency occurs — a sudden illness, accident, or death in the family— tell Court staff immediately so the trial can be scheduled around you.
  • Jury cases are either criminal or civil.

    Civil Cases: Civil cases are disputes between private citizens, corporations, Tulalip Tribal governments, Tulalip agencies, or other organizations. Usually, the party who brings a suit is asking for money damages for some alleged wrong that has been done, for example, a homeowner may sue a contractor for failure to fix a leaky roof. People who have been injured may sue the person or company they feel is responsible for the injury.

    The party that brings the suit is call the plaintiff, the one being sued is call the defendant. There may be a number of plaintiffs or defendants in the same case.

    Criminal Cases: A criminal case is brought by the Tulalip Tribes, against one or more persons accused of committing a crime. In these cases, the Tulalip Tribes is the plaintiff; the accused person is the defendant. The defendant is informed of the charge or charges called a complaint or information.

  • Events in a trial usually happen in a particular order, though the order may be changed by the judge. Here’s the usual order of events:

    1. Step 1: Selection of the jury (Voir Dire)
    2. Step 2: Opening Statements
    3. Step 3: Presentation of Evidence
    4. Step 4: Jury Instructions
    5. Step 5: Closing Arguments
    6. Step 6: Jury Deliberations
    7. Step 7: Announcement of the Verdict
    • DO arrive on time and DO return promptly after breaks and lunch. The trial cannot proceed until all jurors are present.
    • DO pay close attention. If you cannot hear what is being said, raise your hand and let the judge know.
    • DO keep an open mind throughout the trial.
    • DO listen carefully to the instructions read by the judge. Remember, it is your duty to accept what the judge says about the law to be applied to the case.
    • DON’T try to guess what the judge thinks about the case. Remember rulings from the bench do not reflect the judge’s personal views.
    • DON’T talk about the case, or issues raised by the case with anyone — including other jurors — while the trial is going on, and DON’T let others talk about the case in your presence, even family members. If someone insists on talking to you or another juror about the case, please report the matter to a court employee.
    • DON’T talk to the lawyers, parties, or witnesses about anything. This will avoid the impression that something unfair is going on.
    • DON’T try to uncover evidence on your own. Never, for example, go to the scene of an event that was part of the case you are hearing. You must decide the case only on the basis of evidence admitted in court.
    • DON’T let yourself get information about the case from the news media or any other outside source. Even if news reports are accurate and complete, they cannot substitute for your own impressions about the case.
    • DON’T take notes during trial unless the judge gives you permission to do so.
    • DO work out differences between yourself and other jurors through complete and fair discussions of the evidence and of the judge’s instructions.
    • DON’T lose your temper, try to bully or refuse to listen to the opinions of other jurors.
    • DON’T mark or write on exhibits.
    • DON’T try to guess what might happen if the case you have heard is appealed. Appellate courts deal only with legal questions—they will not change your verdict if you decided the facts based on proper evidence and instructions.
    • DON’T talk to anyone about your deliberations or about the verdict until the judge discharges the jury. After discharge, you may discuss the verdict and the deliberations with anyone, including the media, the lawyers, or your family. But DON’T feel obligated to do so—no juror can be forced to talk without a court order.