When reporting for jury selection, you must first check in with the jury staff. They will ask you for your name and juror number. After this, you will wait in our Jury Assembly Room (#127) at the Bernalillo County Courthouse until all jurors who have been instructed to report have arrived. (Occasionally, you may be asked to report to Juvenile Court at 5100 2nd St., NW, but you will be given clear instructions if that happens.) After all jurors have arrived, the Judge before whom you have been summoned will be notified. As soon as any preliminary court matters have been dealt with, the Judge’s bailiff will take all the jurors to the courtroom for a process called “voir dire.” This is a procedure during which the attorneys for the parties will ask questions to determine the suitability of each juror to serve on the particular case. In addition, the Judge may tell you something about the case, as well as how long it is expected to last. This process may last from 1 to 5 hours, (in rare cases, longer) depending on the case.
Once this step is over, you will report back to the jury assembly room to wait while the panel is selected. This process usually lasts 1 to 2 hours.
After the jury has been selected, the bailiff will again report to the assembly room where the chosen jurors will be taken to the courtroom to be sworn in. In most cases the trial will begin immediately. Those jurors who were not selected will be released at this time, with an instruction to continue to call each day as instructed.
Note: A complaint sometimes expressed by jurors concerns the unexplained time seemingly wasted during jury selection and trials. What might appear to be wasted time is actually being used by the judge and attorneys working on matters that must be done outside the presence of the jury. These events often arise unexpectedly and cannot be planned for. A case may settle just before a trial, thereby eliminating the need for your services that day as a juror. In fact, the presence of a waiting jury panel often accelerates this result. So your presence that day will have played a vital role in our legal system. Please be aware of these possibilities, and bear with us as we all work to accomplish our goal of achieving justice for all.