First Person: Behind the scenes of jury duty
The last few months of the year are busy for the folks in the Oneida County Clerk of Courts office. Next month a randomly selected list will be generated giving Clerk Brenda Behrle and her staff a list of potential 2015 jurors. We talked with Brenda about that list and how the names become a jury.
Buyers’ Guide: How is the list generated?
Brenda Behrle: The state court operations works with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to generate lists for all 72 counties in the state. Each county’s list contains a different number of names, based on county population. In our case, we get 2,000 randomly selected names. We begin sending out questionnaires to every name on the list.
BG: Will all of them become jurors?
BB: Within the questionnaire is a list of criteria, which must be met to be considered for jury duty. Respondents must be at least 18 years old, a citizen of the United States, and resident of Oneida County and must understand English. A resident can receive the questionnaire every year, but can only be summoned every four years. In Oneida County, the summons is 30 days.
BG: Has it ever happened that the county needs more than the initial pool of 2,000?
BB: We typically need about 75 jurors per month. I have been in this office for almost four years, and we have always had enough. Some on the list may be under 18, and when that occurs, they are pulled from the group. Once they turn 18, I can send them the questionnaire so they may participate if they qualify.
BG: Do you find people are excited to be summoned?
BB: Some people are very excited for the experience, and others are full of anxiety. We have had people ask whether they can volunteer to serve in a spouse’s place, but that is not allowed. Generally speaking, after all is said and done, jurors have told me they enjoyed being part of the system, which is really nice.