Washington Jury Selection


Jury selection is the procedure whereby persons from the community are called to court, questioned by the litigants as to their qualifications to serve as a juror and then either selected to or rejected to serve as a juror.

In Washington, either the defendant or the plaintiff may demand a jury to try the action that shall be composed of six good and lawful persons having the qualifications of jurors in the superior court of the same county, unless the parties shall agree upon a lesser number.  When the jury has been selected, an oath or affirmation shall be administered to the jurors, in substance that they will well and truly try the matter and give a true verdict according to the law and evidence as given to them on the trial.[i]

When the action is called for trial, a panel of potential jurors shall be selected at random from the citizens summoned for jury service who have appeared and have not been excused.  A voir dire examination of the panel shall be conducted for the purpose of discovering any basis for challenge for cause and to permit the intelligent exercise of peremptory challenges.  Any necessary additions to the panel shall be selected at random from the list of qualified jurors.  The jury shall consist of six persons, unless the parties demand that the jury be twelve in number or consent to a less number. The parties may consent to a jury less than six in number but not less than three and such consent shall be entered in the record.[ii]

The plaintiff and defendant challenges alternately until the peremptory challenges shall be exhausted. During this alternating process, if one of the parties declines to exercise a peremptory challenge, then that party may no longer peremptorily challenge any of the jurors in the group and may only peremptorily challenge any jurors later added to that group. A refusal to challenge by either party in the said order of alternation shall not prevent the adverse party from using the full number of challenges.[iii]

[i] Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 4.44.260

[ii] Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 4.44.120

[iii] Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 4.44.210