Welcome to jury service in Oregon’s state trial courts. All of us in your state court system thank you for your time and willingness to serve, whether as a juror summoned to serve in our trial courts or as an employer whose employee has been summoned. From personal experience, I know that jury service is hard work. It is also some of the most important work that any of us will ever do.
Jury service is an important part of our heritage - a government of the people, by the people, and for the people. The right to trial by jury is a fundamental right given by our state and federal constitutions to protect us all so that government or others cannot deprive us of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. In return, the constitutions ask citizens to serve as jurors.
Juries represent a cross-section of the community’s citizens. Jurors are officers of the court, as are judges and lawyers. Trial jurors hear both sides of the case and determine the facts. The judge instructs the jury on the law to apply, and the jury applies that law to the facts to reach a decision. Grand jurors hear evidence about crimes and determine whether there is enough information to require a person to stand trial for committing a crime.
Jury service, therefore, is a significant civic responsibility and fundamental duty of citizenship to protect our many rights and privileges. The limited fees and expenses allowed by state law mean that jury service sometimes calls jurors and their families and employers to sacrifice time, work, and money to preserve justice and the rule of law in our society.
I give special thanks to all who serve despite inconvenience and even financial hardship. And I thank employers who encourage their employees to serve when called. You help our courts work more efficiently, reduce delay, and ensure that juries better reflect a true cross-section of their communities.
Because we know that jury service demands much of jurors and their employers, we work continually to improve jury service. We are working to reduce its financial impact and inconvenience for jurors and their families and employers. We are working to give jurors better tools to do their work so that the work is rewarding.
We in Oregon’s state court system know there can be no justice without you. We thank you for serving Oregon.
Thomas A. Balmer
Oregon Supreme Court