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Friday, July 25, 2014
Saskatchewan Justice
How are juries selected?

The names of prospective jurors are selected at random from the computerized hospitalization records for Saskatchewan. Every resident of Saskatchewan has a hospitalization number but not every person has a telephone number or address. This makes it the least biased list of names available. Only the person's name and address is released from hospitalization records.

Several weeks prior to the trial the Sheriff's Office, in the judicial centre where the trial will be held, requisitions the number of jury summons required for the jury selection. The names are selected at random from those persons on the first list who have postal codes within the judicial district.

Jury summons are printed with the person's name or address and sent to the Sheriff's Office where they are mailed to prospective jurors.

Anyone receiving a jury summons has five days to contact the Sheriff's Office to advise of their ineligibility for jury duty or to apply for exemption from jury duty. Individuals who are not eligible for jury duty are peace officers, employees of Saskatchewan Justice, reeves, councillors and mayors.

Reasons for being exempted from jury duty are listed on the jury summons. They include:

  • the person suffers from an illness that makes them incapable of serving as a juror;
  • the person is over the age of 65; or
  • the person has already served as a juror in the past two years.

 

The jury selection takes place prior to the start of the trial. The names of all eligible persons are written on white cards and the cards are placed in a wooden box. The court clerk shakes the box and draws a card and that person is called forward. The lawyers for the prosecution and the defence have to decide whether they want this person. If either lawyer says no, the person is excused. If neither lawyer objects, the person is sworn as a juror. The same process continues until 12 jurors are chosen. Once 12 are selected, everyone else is excused from the trial.



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