District of Columbia 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.  No individual or class of individuals may be disqualified, excluded, excused, or exempt from service as a juror. [i] The Board of Judges shall adopt, implement, and as necessary modify a written jury system plan for the random selection and service of grand and petit jurors in the Superior Court.  The plan shall include:

  • detailed procedures to be followed by the clerk of the Court in the random selection of names from the master juror list;
  • provisions for a master jury wheel (or other device of like purpose and function) which shall be emptied and refilled at specified intervals, not to exceed 24 months;
  • provisions for the disclosure to the parties and the public of the names of individuals selected for jury service, except in cases in which the chief judge determines that confidentiality is required in the interest of justice; and
  • procedures to be followed by the clerk of the Court in assigning individuals to grand and petit juries;

The jury system plan shall be administered by the clerk of the Court under the supervision of the Board of Judges.[ii]  The jury system plan shall provide for the compilation and maintenance by the Board of Judges of a master juror list from which names of prospective jurors shall be drawn.  Such master juror list shall consist of the list of District of Columbia voters, and names from such other appropriate sources and lists as may be provided in the jury system plan.[iii] The jury system plan shall also provide for procedures for the random selection and qualification of grand and petit jurors from the master juror list.  Such plan may provide for separate or joint qualification and summoning processes. An individual shall be qualified to serve as a juror if that individual:

  • is a resident of the District of Columbia;
  • is a citizen of the United States;
  • has attained the age of 18 years; and
  • is able to read, speak, and understand the English language.

An individual shall not be qualified to serve as a juror:

  • if determined to be incapable by reason of physical or mental infirmity of rendering satisfactory jury service; or
  • if that individual has been convicted of a felony or has a pending felony or misdemeanor charge.  Except, that an individual disqualified for jury service by reason of a felony conviction may qualify for jury service not less than one year after the completion of the term of incarceration, probation, or parole following appropriate certification under procedures set out in the jury system plan.

Any determination regarding qualification for jury service shall be made on the basis of information provided in the juror qualification form and any other competent evidence.  An individual who intentionally misrepresents a material fact on a juror qualification form for the purpose of avoiding or securing service as a juror may be punished by a fine of not more than $ 300, by imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both.  The procedures for challenges to and review of exclusions from jury service are also set forth in the jury system plan.[iv] In any twenty-four month period an individual shall not be required to serve more than once as a grand or petit juror except as may be necessary by reason of the insufficiency of the master juror list or as ordered by the Court.[v] An individual who commits fraud in the processing or selection of jurors or prospective jurors, either by causing any name to be inserted into any list maliciously or by causing any name to be deleted from any list maliciously is guilty of the crime of jury tampering.[vi] ,

[i] D.C. Code § 11-1908 [ii] D.C. Code § 11-1904 [iii] D.C. Code § 11-1905 [iv] D.C. Code § 11-1908 [v] D.C. Code § 11-1911 [vi] D.C. Code § 11-1915

Inside District of Columbia Jury Selection