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Good Question: How are you picked for jury duty?

July 23, 2018 07:43 AM

Have you ever wondered how your name is or is not picked for jury duty? Pat Taney was asked about that for this week's Good Question report.

Charles Johnson says his wife gets jury notices all the time but he never has. Feeling a bit left out, Johnson asked Pat how the selection process works.

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It's one piece of mail a lot of you've received -- whether you want it or not!

"Not necessarily, but it's your civic duty and I think it's important to be involved," said former juror Whitney Cox.

She wasn't sure how they got her name though. So how do they select prospective jurors? 

We went to Monroe County Commissioner of Jurors Chuck Perreaud for the answer.

"The state compiles information from five primary sources...huge computer databases," Perreaud says.

Those five databases? State income tax, unemployment, social services, DMV, and voting records.

"We put those five together and that gives us a master list," Perreaud says.

People on that list are first sent a questionnaire in the mail which determines if you are qualified to serve. You're legally required to fill it out either online or return it by mail.

"Then for the next 18 months, our computer system can pick you randomly to get a jury summons," Perreaud says.

But that's only if you haven't served in the past eight years. In Monroe County, you should only serve once in that time frame.

"We set that time frame because that forces us to bring in new people all of the time," Perreaud tells News10NBC. "More than half of the people who come in for trial jurors are first-timers and that's important."

The selection is all random and done by a computer program. Right now, in 2018 in Monroe County, you have a one in 272,000 chance to get picked. That's the current pool of people available to serve right now.

Perreaud says it's like the lottery, only with better odds. Unlike the lottery though you won't get rich if you do get picked.

"You get the fantastic sum of $40 a day," Perreaud says. 

Only about 75,000 people serve every year in Monroe County. If you've never been picked for jury duty and really feel left out, you can volunteer your name by going to www.nyjuror.gov.

If you have a question you want Pat to answer, e-mail him at GoodQuestion@WHEC.com.

Credits

Pat Taney

Copyright 2018 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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