Guam 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.

A prospective juror is disqualified to serve as a juror if he:

  • is not a citizen of the United States;
  • is not at least eighteen years old;
  • has not resided for a period of at least one year within Guam;
  • is unable to read, write, speak, and understand the English language;
  • is incapable, by reason of his physical or mental disability, of rendering satisfactory jury service; but a person claiming this disqualification may be required to submit a physician’s certificate as to the disability, and the certifying physician is subject to inquiry by the court at its discretion; or
  • has been convicted of a felony in a state, territorial or federal court and has not been pardoned.[i]

Each year the clerk shall place in the master jury wheel the names of prospective jurors taken from the master list by random selection in such number as the court determines.  The clerk shall make the random selection of names.  From time to time, an additional number may be ordered by the court to be placed in the master jury wheel.  The master jury wheel shall be emptied and refilled between July 1 and September 1 of every year.[ii]

Even though every citizen is obliged to serve as juror when selected, a person may claim exemption from service as a juror if he is:

  • a member in the active services of the armed forces of the United States;
  • an elected official, or a judge, of the United States or the Territory of Guam;
  • an actively engaged member of the clergy;
  • an actively practicing attorney, physician, dentist, or registered nurse;
  • a member of the Fire or Police Departments or an employee of a government contractor engaged in providing internal security or fire protection for such contractors;
  • a person who has served as a juror, either in the Superior Court or the United States District Court of Guam, within two years.[iii]

From time to time, the clerk shall draw at random from the qualified jury wheel such number of persons as may be required for assignment to grand and petit jury panels.  A juror who willfully or without reasonable excuse fails to attend may be ordered to be arrested by the court and may be punished for contempt[iv].

In civil cases, before the voir dire examination ends, any party may move to stay the proceedings on the ground of substantial failure to comply with the provisions in selecting the petit jury.  If the court determines that there has been a substantial failure to comply with the provisions in selecting a grand jury, the court shall stay the proceedings pending the selection of a grand jury.

The contents of records or papers used by the clerk in connection with the jury selection process shall not be disclosed, except pursuant to the Superior Court plan or as may be necessary in the preparation or presentation of a motion.  The parties in a case shall be allowed to inspect, reproduce, and copy such records or papers at all reasonable times during the preparation and pendency of such a motion.  Any person who discloses the contents of any record or paper in violation of this Subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor.[v]

[i] 7 GCA § 22105

[ii] 7 GCA § 22113

[iii] 7 GCA § 22107

[iv] 7 GCA § 22116

[v] 7 GCA § 22119

Inside Guam Jury Selection