Minnesota 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 April of each year, the jury commission for each county of the state of Minnesota shall compile and maintain a master list consisting of the voter registration list for the county.  The jury commission for each county shall maintain a jury wheel into which the commission shall place the names or identifying numbers of prospective jurors taken from the master list selected from the voter’s list.  The jurors drawn for jury service shall be assigned at random by the clerk to each jury panel in a manner prescribed by the court.

Every citizen is qualified to be a juror if h/she is

  • not under the age of twenty-one years;
  • is either a qualified elector, or a resident freeholder of the county for more than one year;
  • is able to read and write;
  • has not been convicted of an infamous crime, or the unlawful sale of intoxicating liquors within a period of five years; and
  • is not a common gambler or habitual drunkard.

No person who is or has been within twelve months the overseer of a public road or road contractor is competent to serve as a grand juror.  No juror shall serve who has a case of his own pending in that court, provided there are sufficient qualified jurors in the district.

In order to determine that prospective jurors can read and write, the presiding judge distribute to the jury panel a form to be completed personally by each juror prior to being impaneled.  The judge shall personally examine the answers of each juror prior to impaneling the jury and each juror who cannot complete the above form shall be disqualified as a juror and discharged.  The circuit clerk shall keep a list of any jurors disqualified for jury duty because of inability to complete the form and their names shall not be placed in the jury box thereafter until such person can qualify as above provided.

The parties or their attorneys in all jury trials shall have the right to question jurors who are being impaneled with reference to challenges for cause, and for peremptory challenges.  It shall not be necessary to propound the questions through the presiding judge, but they may be asked by the attorneys or by litigants not represented by attorneys.  The court may permit the parties or their attorneys to conduct examination of prospective jurors.  Otherwise, it may itself conduct the examination.  In the latter event, the court shall permit the parties or their attorneys to supplement the examination by such further inquiry as it deems proper.  Supplemental juror questionnaires completed by jurors shall not be accessible to the public unless formally admitted into evidence in a publicly accessible hearing or trial [i]l.

The court shall seat a jury of not fewer than six and not more than twelve members and all jurors shall participate in the verdict unless excused from service by the court.  Any person summoned for jury service who fails to comply with the summons is guilty of a misdemeanor.  However, the court may for good cause excuse a juror from service during trial or deliberation.

[i] Minn. R. Civ. P. 47.01 (2009)

Inside Minnesota Jury Selection