That’s one way to look at it, but consider this:
In 1774 founding father John Adams said, "Representative government and trial by jury are the heart and lungs of liberty...”
The importance of a trial by jury, was so important to Thomas Jefferson that he included it as a grievance in the Declaration of Independence because the King of England was “depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury.”
In 1788, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “I consider trial by jury as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which government can be held to the principles of its constitution.” It was Jefferson’s conviction that led John Adams to include jury trials in our Bill of Rights enshrined in the 6th and 7th Amendments.
Serving as a juror is a vital role as a citizen of Missoula and the United States. It, along with voting, are the ordinary citizen’s greatest opportunity to participate in, and protect our democracy. Most people indicate that serving on a jury was a worthwhile experience.
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If you received a yellow card from Municipal Court, you don’t need to do anything at this time. You have just been added to the jury pool for the term beginning 9/1/2023 and ending 8/31/2024. If you are selected for a particular trial, you will receive a Summons in the mail about 5 weeks before the trial date. The Summons will provide instructions on how to proceed.
Annual Notice postcards are also being sent by Justice Court and District Court. See below if you need to contact them:
Go to the Justice Court Annual Notice page if you received a green postcard.
Go to the District Court Annual Notice page or email the District Court if you received a hot pink postcard.
No. You do not need to do anything at this time. If you are selected to appear for a particular trial, you will be mailed a Summons with instructions on how to notify the Court that the Summons was received.
You are eligible to be selected for the jury pool if you are 18 years of age or older, a resident of Missoula County for at least 30 days, and a citizen of the United States. The jury pool is selected from a combined list of registered voters, licensed drivers, and holders of Montana State ID cards. Be aware there are 4 Courts in Missoula County that have jury pools – Municipal Court, Justice Court, District Court, and US District Court.
Email our office, and we will have you excused for the remainder of the jury term. In your email, please provide your Juror Number (found above your name and address on the postcard, your name, new address, and a statement of when you moved. If you want to be removed from future jury pools in Missoula County, see below:
We get our jury pool from those residents who are registered to vote in Missoula County or have Driver’s Licenses or State IDs issued from Missoula County. To be removed from the list for future jury pools you should contact the Missoula County Elections Office at 406-258-4751 to advise them you have moved out of Missoula County. You should update the address associated with your Driver’s License or State ID Card.
If you have moved out of state, you need to contact the Missoula County Elections Office (406) 258-4751, and Montana Driver Services Bureau (406) 444-3933, as other States do not necessarily inform Montana that you have either registered to vote or obtained a Driver’s License in that State. If these departments are not contacted, your name will likely remain on their lists, and you will possibly be added to future jury pools in Missoula County.
Each year, a new jury pool is selected from a combined list of registered voters, licensed drivers, and holders of Montana State ID cards, whether or not you were previously in a jury pool. Having been in the jury pool in previous years does not preclude you from being selected in the jury pool in a future year.
On the postcard, it should appear directly above your name.
If you were previously excused for a particular trial or a jury term, you would still qualify to be added to this year’s jury pool. However, if you were permanently excused previously, please email the Court at CourtJurors@ci.missoula.mt.us, so we can do some research as to why you were added this year. Please provide your Juror Number, Name, contact information, and a copy of the Permanent Excusal, if you have it.
Yes, however, you do not need to do anything at this time. If you are selected to appear for a particular trial, a Summons with instructions on how to complete the Questionnaire will be sent to you.
Please complete the Affidavit for Excusal advising us of the dates and reasons why you will be unavailable for jury service during that time. Your request will be forwarded to a Judge for review. If approved, we will update our records to indicate you are unavailable during that time frame, and send you notification.
You do not need to do anything at this time. If you are selected to appear for a particular trial, you will receive a Summons in the mail about 5 - 6 weeks before the trial. It will contain instructions on how to request an excusal. Please note: 5 - 6 weeks should be ample time to make arrangements for things like daycare, changing work schedules, and transportation.
You will receive a Jury Summons by mail if you are selected to appear for a particular trial, usually about 5 weeks before the trial. The Summons will provide instructions on how to notify the Court.
8,500 people have been selected for Municipal Court’s jury pool this year. Also consider there are 3 other courts that require their own jury pool in Missoula: Justice Court, District Court, and United States District Court.
The term begins each year on September 1, and ends August 31, the following year.
You could be found in contempt of court, face a fine, and/or the Court may direct the Missoula Police Department to bring you before the Court to explain your absence.