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From Driver's License to Jury Box: How Wisconsin Selects Its Juries

Posted by Nathan DeLadurantey | May 22, 2024

Ever wondered how you might end up in a jury box in Wisconsin? It's a fascinating process that relies on randomness and ensures everyone has a fair shot at serving. So, grab your gavel (or maybe just a cup of coffee) as we delve into the world of Wisconsin jury selection!

The Random Pool: Where It Starts

The journey begins with a giant pool of potential jurors. The clerk of circuit court creates this master list by pulling names from sources authorized by law, like driver's license rolls. Think of it like a lottery, but instead of winning money, you get the chance to fulfill your civic duty!

The Questionnaire: Your Chance to Explain

Once your name is drawn, you'll receive a questionnaire in the mail. This is your opportunity to tell the court if you meet the qualifications for jury service. These qualifications include being a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old, and a resident of the county where the court is located. The questionnaire might also ask about any potential conflicts you might have that would prevent you from serving.

Not Everyone Makes the Cut

Based on your questionnaire, the court will determine if you're eligible. Some folks might be excused due to hardships or if they don't meet the basic requirements. But for those who qualify, get ready for the next step!

Summoned to Serve: Reporting for Duty

If you qualify, you'll receive a summons to appear for jury duty. This typically involves showing up at the courthouse for a set period, like a week or two. Don't worry, you won't be stuck there the entire time. There will likely be waiting periods, but when a jury is needed for a case, the selection process begins.

Lawyers Take the Wheel (Sort Of): Voir Dire

This is where things get interesting. Attorneys in the case will question the potential jurors, a process known as voir dire (pronounced vwahr DEER). Their goal is to assemble a fair and impartial jury. They might ask about your background, knowledge of the case, and anything that could influence your judgment. Based on the answers, some jurors might be excused by the judge or challenged by the lawyers (with or without reason).

The Final Selection: The Jury Takes Shape

After voir dire, the remaining jurors will be sworn in, and they'll be ready to hear the case. This is the heart of our justice system: a group of regular citizens from the community working together to reach a verdict.

Remember: Jury duty is an essential part of a functioning democracy. If you receive a summons, consider it an honor to participate in this important process. By following the steps and answering honestly, you'll be well on your way to fulfilling your civic duty in Wisconsin's court system.

Attorney Nathan DeLadurantey offers free consultations to explain your legal rights in Wisconsin. Free consultations can be scheduled online. 

About the Author

Nathan DeLadurantey

Nathan DeLadurantey ATTORNEY [email protected] Nathan is a skilled consumer lawyer who handles cases and trials all over Wisconsin. Phone consultations are always free and welcomed. Nathan has helped clients receive large jury verdicts and settlements stemming from consumer law violations, and is ready and able to assist.


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