Jury Duty – Our Duty and Privilege
Author: Linda Weber for Sunnylands Seminars 2009, Annenberg Classroom
While most civic participation is voluntary, the call to serve on a jury is not—it comes as an order by the court. Trial by jury, a right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, requires the fair and impartial decision‐making of ordinary citizens.Learning about this important duty of citizenship will help students understand jury service as both a responsibility and a privilege. In this lesson, students learn about the importance, history, and constitutional foundations of jury service. They become familiar with federal and state juror qualifications and selection processes, then review sample juror questionnaires and jury summonses. Students also participate in an attitudinal survey about jury service.
- Video Segment: A Conversation on the Constitution with Justices Stephen G. Breyer,Sandra Day O’Connor, and Anthony M. Kennedy – “Jury Service” (10 min. 30 sec.)
- Video Segment: FAQs: Juries – “The Value of Service” (3 min. 40 sec.)
- FAQs Juries: “Qualifications and Types of Juries” (2 min. 50 sec.)
- Identify the constitutional basis for juries.
- Explain the role of the jury in a constitutional democracy.
- Identify and explain the knowledge, skills, and dispositions important for citizen jurors.
- Draw conclusions about the importance of citizen participation in the judicial process.
- Become familiar with juror qualifications, selection processes, and expectations for jury service in federal and state trial courts.
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