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Learn about jury selection

Find out how the jury selection process works and what happens when you're brought before a panel.

When you're brought to impanelment during your jury service, the parties and judge will decide if each juror will be excused or impaneled. Learn about how this process works and find out what it means to be impaneled.

Jury selection

When you're brought in for jury selection, called impanelment, the judge will tell you a bit about the type of case and introduce the parties and their attorneys. Everyone will be asked to respond to a short series of questions, and anyone who has an issue that might prevent them from serving on the jury will have an opportunity to speak with the judge. In some cases, the judge, attorneys, or self-represented litigants may ask additional questions.

Jurors will then be selected to sit in the jury box, and the parties will have the opportunity to exercise challenges. Either party can ask that a juror be excused for a specific reason, and each party can ask that a few jurors be excused without giving any reason. The judge will decide whether to excuse each challenged juror.

The number of jurors selected depends on the court. Generally, there will be:

  • 6–7 in District, Housing, and Juvenile Court
  • 12–14 in Superior and Housing Court

Once the necessary number of people have been seated on the jury and the parties are satisfied with the jury, the trial will begin. Potential jurors who aren't selected at one impanelment may be sent to another impanelment. Once all of the cases that need jurors that day have been impaneled, those who weren't selected will be excused for the day.

Getting sequestered

In some cases, jurors who have been impaneled may be isolated from the public for a trial to help avoid outside influences, which is called getting sequestered. Jurors are rarely sequestered in Massachusetts. If you're impaneled, in order to avoid a mistrial, you'll be instructed by the judge to avoid:

  • News in the newspaper, on TV, or on the radio
  • Doing research on the case
  • Sharing information about the case with anyone

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