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 Oregon, when the action is called for trial, the clerk will draw names at random from the names of jurors in attendance upon the court. When the full number of jurors is called, they will be examined as to their qualifications, by the court, plaintiff, and defendant respectively. The court will regulate the examination in such a way as to avoid unnecessary delay[i].
After the number of the jury has been completed, an oath or affirmation will be administered to the jurors, in substance that they will truly try the matter in issue between the plaintiff and defendant, and give a true verdict according to the law and evidence as given them on the trial.
Challenges for cause can be taken on any one or more of the following grounds:
- The existence of a mental or physical defect that proves the challenged person is incapable of performing the duties of a juror.
- Consanguinity or affinity within the fourth degree to any party.
- Standing in the relation of guardian and ward, physician and patient, master and servant, landlord and tenant, or debtor and creditor, to the adverse party; or being a member of the family of, or a partner in business with, or in the employment for wages of, or being an attorney for or a client of, the adverse party; or being surety in the action called for trial, or otherwise, for the adverse party.
- If the juror has served on a previous trial in the same action, or in another action between the same parties for the same cause of action, same facts or transaction.
- If the juror has any interest in the outcome of the action.
- If there exists any actual bias on the part of a juror. It is the existence of a state of mind on the part of a juror that, in the exercise of sound discretion, the juror cannot try the issue impartially and without prejudice to the substantial rights of the party challenging the juror[ii].
A peremptory challenge is an objection to a juror for which no reason need be given, upon which the court will exclude such juror. Either party will be entitled to no more than three peremptory challenges if the jury consists of more than six jurors and no more than two peremptory challenges if the jury consists of six jurors.
The court can direct that not more than six jurors in addition to the regular jury be called and impanelled to sit as alternate jurors. Alternate jurors can be selected if needed and shall be drawn in the same manner, same qualifications, same examination and challenges, same oath, same functions, powers, facilities, and privileges as the regular jurors.
[i] ORCP 57.