Jury Selection Process

Island County Superior Court “Struck” Jury Procedure and Jury Selection Process

  1. Under the “struck” jury system of voir dire, all members of the jury panel are subject to being questioned at any time. All members of the jury panel will be seated on the benches, except in cases where an exceptional number of prospective jurors are needed, in which case prospective jurors will also be seated in the jury box.  
  2. The prospective jurors will be seated on the benches in the order in which they have been randomly selected. They will continue to be seated in this order throughout the jury selection process. All jurors will be wearing their numbers for ease of reference to them. 
  3. The judge begins voir dire by asking general questions of the panel as a whole. Following the judge’s questions, the attorneys will be given blocks of time, during which they may ask questions of the panel as a whole or questions of individual jurors, as they choose. The attorneys will alternate their periods of questioning, with decreasing amounts of time, until they have completed their questioning. The court reserves the right to limit the amount of time allocated to voir dire, though that will usually not be necessary. 
  4. Challenges for cause may be raised during breaks, outside the presence of the jurors, to avoid “infecting” the rest of the panel with intemperate or other inappropriate remarks. 
  5. The court will entertain requests for written juror questionnaires before jury selection begins, ideally a day or more before the trial begin, so the other party has an opportunity to review it and propose changes. As in all things, the parties are encouraged to meet and confer in an effort to reach agreement on the form of the questionnaire. 
  6. Juror questionnaires should contain provisions indicating that the answers given are under oath and that the juror may request to be examined outside the presence of the other jurors if he or she would feel uncomfortable answering questions in the presence of the other jurors. 
  7. Since the answers are given under oath, juror questionnaires will be submitted to the prospective jurors before the case is called. When all of the jurors have completed their questionnaires, copies are made for counsel and the court. The parties are encouraged to make arrangements for copying. In the absence of arrangements by the parties for copying, the court will arrange for copying. 
  8. Peremptory challenges are made at the conclusion of all of the questioning of the panel. The attorneys alternate making their peremptory challenges, beginning with the plaintiff’s attorney.
  9. Inasmuch as the prospective jurors are seated in the order of their potential selection as members of the jury, peremptory challenges must be exercised as to the then-existing panel of jurors who would make up the jury absent any peremptory challenges (i.e., the first 12 jurors, unless the parties have stipulated to a lesser number of jurors). 
  10. If an attorney “passes” when it is his or her turn to exercise a peremptory challenge, the attorney waives any further peremptory challenge as to the then-existing 12 jurors. By passing, the attorney does not waive any peremptory challenge to the next juror who will be part of the 12-person jury if the other attorney exercises a peremptory challenge. RCW 4.44.210. 
  11. After the 12-person jury has been selected, the parties may then exercise their peremptory challenges as to the prospective alternate juror(s) in turn. Again, if an attorney passes as to the person or persons who would be the alternate juror(s) if no challenges were made, the attorney waives any challenge as to this person or persons. 
  12. Peremptory challenges will be done outside the presence of the jurors, unless otherwise determined by the court, so that other jurors are unaware of which attorney exercised the peremptory. For this reason, it will be important for you to remember the names and faces of the jurors as you question them. 
  13. The number of alternate jurors will be determined on a case-by-case basis. 
  14. Alternate jurors are designated as such in the presence of the other jurors. In other words, the jurors and alternate jurors will know who is and who is not an alternate juror. 
  15. Counsel are encouraged to review CR 47 and 48, CrR 6.1-6.10, chapter 4.44 RCW, and any other applicable statutes and case law relating to jury selection and procedures.