Jury Duty – Our Duty and Privilege

Lesson Duration

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.

Materials Needed:


  •  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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