How is a Jury Selected in Maryland?
Jurors are very important in the judicial process. We have jury trials in criminal court and civil court. A jury is often referred to as the “trier of facts” in a case. The job of a juror is to listen to the evidence presented by both parties and determine the issues of fact in the case. In other words, who is telling the truth, which often comes down to which side presents a more convincing and compelling case. The evidence is composed of physical evidence and testimony. The jury must balance and weigh all evidence to determine the guilt or innocence of a defendant in a criminal case or the liability and damages in a civil case. In a typical criminal case, 12 jurors serve on the jury. In a civil case, the jury is typically composed of six jurors. Before a jury can be selected for an individual case, the court must assemble a group of individuals who are qualified to serve on a jury — the jury pool. What Are the Qualifications for Serving on a Jury in Maryland? Qualifications to serve on a jury are not based on a person’s gender, national origin, disability, religion, economic status or race. However, a jury must meet three requirements to be qualified to serve on a jury in Maryland. The qualifications a person must meet to serve on a jury are:
- Must be a United States citizen;
- At least 18 years of age; and,
- Reside in the county or city in which the person would serve as a juror.
- You have a criminal conviction that carries a potential sentence of more than six months in prison; your prison sentence for a conviction was more than six months; or, you have not been pardoned for that crime;
- You have pending criminal charges that could result in more than six months in prison if convicted;
- You cannot write, read, speak, or understand the English language; or,
- You have a medically documented disability that prevents you from providing satisfactory service as a juror.
- If you are a member of the Senate or the U.S. House of Representatives;
- You are an active duty member of the state militia or armed forces because your service a juror would unreasonably interfere with your military duties or adversely affect the readiness to perform your duties; OR,
- You are seventy years or older, and you request to be exempted from jury service.