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Effective Date: 1/1/2001




The opportunity for jury service in this state shall not be denied or limited on the basis of race, religious belief, gender, age, national origin, physical disability, economic status, income, occupation, or any other factor that discriminates against a cognizable group in this state.

North Dakota Statute: Section 27-09.1-02, N.D.C.C.; ND Const., Art. I, Sec. 3.

Note: This standard is consistent with ABA Standard 1 but is more encompassing than language of the present statute (Section 27-09.1-02, N.D.C.C.).


(a) The names of potential jurors shall be drawn from a jury source list compiled from one or more regularly maintained lists of persons residing in the court's jurisdiction.

(b) The jury source list shall be representative and should be as inclusive of the adult population in the county as is feasible.

(c) The supreme court shall biennially review the jury source list for its representativeness and inclusiveness of the adult population.

(d) If the supreme court determines that improvement is needed in the representativeness or inclusiveness of the jury source list, appropriate corrective action shall be taken.

North Dakota Statutes: Sections 27-09.1-03 and 27-09.1-05, N.D.C.C.

Note: The state policy of random selection of jurors, non-discrimination, equal opportunity for jury service, and obligation of service are set forth in Sections 27-09.1-01 and 27-09.1-02, N.D.C.C. The determination of which lists should be used to best meet the stated policy is an implementation issue which should be determined by the judiciary.


(a) Random selection procedures shall be used throughout the juror selection process. Any method may be used, manual or automated, that provides each eligible and available person with an equal probability of selection.

(b) Random selection procedures shall be employed in

(i) Selecting persons to be summoned for jury service;

(ii) Assigning prospective jurors to panels; and

(iii) Calling prospective jurors for voir dire.

(c) Departures from the principle of random selection are appropriate

(i) To exclude persons ineligible for service in accordance with Standard 4;

(ii) To excuse or defer prospective jurors in accordance with Standard 6;

(iii) To remove prospective jurors for cause or if challenged peremptorily in accordance with Standards 8 and 9; and

(iv) To provide all prospective jurors with an opportunity to be called for jury service and to be assigned to a panel in accordance with Standard 13.

North Dakota Statutes and Court Rules: Sections 27-09.1-06, 27-09.1-07, 27-09.1-09, 28-14-01, 28-14-03, 29-17-02 through 29-17-11, N.D.C.C.; Rule 47(d), N.D.R.Civ.P.; and, Rule 24(c), N.D.R.CrimP.

Note: This standard is consistent with the state policy of selecting persons for jury service at random, as established in Section 27-09.1-01, N.D.C.C.


A prospective juror is disqualified to serve on a jury if the prospective juror:

(a) Is not a citizen of the United States and a resident of the state and county;

(b) Is not at least eighteen years old;

(c) Is unable with reasonable accommodation to communicate and understand the English language;

(d) Is incapable, by reason of physical or mental disability and with reasonable accommodation, of rendering satisfactory jury service; but a person claiming this disqualification may be required to submit a physician's certificate as to the disability, and the certifying physician is subject to inquiry by the court at its discretion; or

(e) Has lost the right to vote because of current imprisonment in the penitentiary (Section 12.1-33-01) or conviction of a criminal offense which by special provision of law disqualifies the prospective juror from such service.

North Dakota Statute: Section 27-09.1-08, N.D.C.C.

Note: The present statutory language is consistent with the ABA standard.


The time that persons are called upon to perform jury service and to be available therefor, should be the shortest period consistent with the needs of justice.

(a) A term of service of two days or the completion of one trial, whichever is longer, is recommended.

(b) Persons should not be required to maintain a status of availability for jury service for longer than 30 days except in areas with few jury trials when it may be appropriate for persons to be available for service for a period not to exceed six months.

North Dakota Statute: Section 27-09.1-15, N.D.C.C.

Note: Implementation of this standard would substantially reduce the time a juror must be available under current law which allows ten days of service and sets no limit on length of availability. Shortening the length of service and the period of availability for service are important steps in decreasing the inconvenience to potential jurors and making jury service a more positive experience.


(a) All automatic excuses or exemptions from jury service shall be eliminated.

(b) Eligible persons who are summoned may be excused from jury service only if:

(i) Their ability to receive and evaluate information is so impaired that they are unable to perform their duties as jurors and they are excused for this reason by a judge or a duly authorized court official;

(ii) They request to be excused because their service would be a continuing hardship to them or to members of the public or they have served on a jury or have been summoned and appeared twice within the two years preceding their latest summons and they are excused by a judge or duly authorized court official; or

(iii) They are 72 years of age or older on the date of the summons and request not to serve.

(c) Deferrals from jury service for reasonably short periods of time may be permitted by a judge or a duly authorized court official.

(d) Requests for excuses and deferrals and their disposition must be written or otherwise made of record. Specific uniform guidelines for determining such requests should be adopted by the judicial districts and approved by the state court administrator.

North Dakota Statutes: Sections 27-09.1-10 and 27-09.1-11, N.D.C.C.

Note: This standard is consistent with present state law. The prohibition against exemption and allowance for temporary excuses are a matter of state policy and should remain part of state law.


Standard 7: VOIR DIRE

Voir Dire examination may be conducted on all matters relevant to determining whether to remove a juror for cause and exercising peremptory challenges.

(a) Basic background information regarding panel members should be made available in writing to counsel for each party and to each self-represented party before the day on which jury selection is to begin, unless disclosure is limited by the court in accordance with Section 27-09.1-09, N.D.C.C.

(b) The trial judge may conduct the initial voir dire examination. Counsel shall be permitted to question panel members for a reasonable period of time.

(c) The judge shall ensure that the privacy of prospective jurors is reasonably protected, and that the questioning by counsel is consistent with the purpose of the voir dire process.

(d) In felony criminal cases, the voir dire process shall be held on the record. In civil and misdemeanor criminal cases, the voir dire process shall be held on the record unless waived by the parties on the record or in writing.

North Dakota Statutes and Court Rules: Rule 47, N.D.R.Civ.P., and Rule 24, N.D.R.CrimP.

Note: The standard is consistent with most practice in the state. Adoption of this standard should contribute to the uniformity of practice.


If, in addition to any statutory disqualification for cause, the judge determines during the voir dire process that any individual is unable or unwilling to hear the particular case at issue fairly and impartially, that individual shall be removed from the panel. Such a determination may be made on motion of counsel or on the judge's own initiative.

North Dakota Statutes and Court Rules: Sections 28-14-02, 28-14-06, 29-17-19 through 29-17-26, 29-17-34 through 29-17-36, 29-17-44, and 29-17-45, N.D.C.C.; Rule 47, N.D.R.Civ.P., and Rule 24, N.D.R.CrimP.

Note: Section 28-14-06, N.D.C.C., specifies challenges for cause. This standard will clarify that the trial judge is authorized to remove a potential juror who is unable or unwilling to hear a case fairly and impartially, even absent a statutorily defined cause in a civil action.


The exercise of peremptory challenges in civil and criminal cases is governed by Rule 47, N.D.R. Civ. P. and Rule 24, N.D.R.CrimP.



(a) All procedure concerning jury selection and service shall be governed by court rules and policies promulgated by the Supreme Court.

(b) Responsibility for administering the jury system in each judicial district should be vested in a single administrator acting under the supervision of the assistant state court administrator for trial courts.

(c) A local jury management plan consistent with these standards must be adopted in each judicial district. The plan must establish procedures for implementing the plan and must identify the person within the district responsible for implementing the plan.

North Dakota Statutes: Uniform Jury Selection Act - Chapter 27-09.1, N.D.C.C.


(a) The State Court Administrator's Office shall prepare the form of notice summoning a person to jury service and the questionnaire eliciting essential information regarding that person which shall be

(i) Combined in a single document;

(ii) Phrased so as to be readily understood by an individual unfamiliar with the legal and jury systems; and,

(iii) Delivered by first class mail.

(b) A summons shall clearly explain how and when the recipient must respond and the consequences of a failure to respond.

(c) The questionnaire shall be phrased and organized so as to facilitate quick and accurate screening, and shall request only that information essential for

(i) Determining whether a person meets the criteria for eligibility;

(ii) Providing basic background information ordinarily sought during voir dire examination; and

(iii) Efficiently managing the jury system.

(d) Policies and procedures shall be established for enforcing a summons to report for jury service and for monitoring failures to respond to a summons.

North Dakota Statute: Sections 27-09.1-07 and 27-09.1-09, N.D.C.C.

Note: This standard places the responsibility for development of a uniform qualification and summons with the State Court Administrator's Office. This action will ensure that the forms ask for the appropriate information and that the format is uniform to aid those practicing in multiple jurisdictions.


The State Court Administrator shall collect and analyze information regarding the performance of the jury system on a regular basis in order to ensure

(a) the representativeness and inclusiveness of the jury source list;

(b) The effectiveness of qualification and summoning procedures;

(c) The responsiveness of individual citizens to jury duty summonses;

(d) The efficient use of jurors; and

(e) The cost effectiveness of the jury system.

North Dakota Statute: Chapter 27-09.1, N.D.C.C.

Note: This standard places the responsibility for monitoring the jury selection system with the State Court Administrator's Office. Periodic review of jury utilization is important to determine if source lists, selection methods, and utilization procedures are working to provide a representative pool of jurors.

Standard 13: JUROR USE

(a) Courts shall employ the services of prospective jurors so as to achieve optimum use with a minimum of inconvenience to jurors.

(b) Courts shall determine the minimally sufficient number of jurors needed to accommodate trial activity. This information and appropriate management techniques should be used to adjust both the number of individuals summoned for jury duty and the number assigned to jury panels.

(c) Courts shall coordinate jury management and calendar management to make effective use of jurors.

North Dakota Statute: Chapter 27-09.1, N.D.C.C.

Note: This standard encourages consideration of potential inconvenience to jurors throughout the jury process. Implementation of modern jury management practices by local courts will be instrumental in minimizing the inconvenience to jurors.


An adequate and suitable environment for jurors should be provided.

(a) The registration area should be clearly identified and appropriately designed to accommodate prospective jurors.

(b) Jurors should be accommodated in pleasant waiting facilities furnished with suitable amenities.

(c) Jury deliberation rooms should include space, furnishings and facilities conducive to reaching a fair verdict. The safety and security of the deliberation rooms should be ensured.

(d) Juror facilities should be arranged to minimize contact between jurors and others.

North Dakota Statute: Section 29-22-01, N.D.C.C.

Note: This standard will encourage local courts and counties to assess the appropriateness of present facilities. The general statements of this standard are intended to serve as points of consideration when the assessment of the facility is undertaken.


(a) Persons called for jury service shall receive a reasonable fee for each day they report for jury service or serve as a juror.

(b) Such amounts and fees shall be paid promptly.

(c) State law shall prohibit employers from discharging, laying-off, denying advancement opportunities to, or otherwise penalizing employees who miss work because of jury service.

North Dakota Statute: Sections 27-09.1-14 and 27-09.1-17, N.D.C.C.

Note: The important service that jurors perform must be recognized. In providing that service they must not be burdened by financial hardship. The potential financial hardship falls most heavily on the lower to middle income wage earners. They are seldom compensated by their employer in terms of paid leave days and have less flexible income. Reasonable juror fees are necessary to provide the opportunity for service for all income levels.



(a) Courts shall provide some form of orientation or instructions to persons called for jury service

(i) Upon initial contact prior to service;

(ii) Upon first appearance at the courthouse;

(iii) Upon reporting to a courtroom for voir dire;

(iv) Directly following impanelment;

(v) During the trial;

(vi) Prior to deliberations; and

(vii) After the verdict has been rendered or when a proceeding is terminated without a verdict.

(b) Orientation programs shall be

(i) Designed to increase prospective jurors' understanding of the judicial system and prepare them to serve competently as jurors;

(ii) Presented in a uniform and efficient manner using a combination of written, oral and audio-visual materials.

(c) The trial judge shall

(i) Give preliminary instructions directly following impanelment of the jury that explain the jury's role, the trial procedures including note-taking and questioning by jurors, the nature of evidence and its evaluation, the issues to be addressed, and the basic relevant legal principles.

(ii) Prior to the commencement of deliberations, instruct the jury on the law, on the appropriate procedures to be followed during deliberations, and on the appropriate method for reporting the results of its deliberations. Such instructions should be recorded or reduced to writing and made available to the jurors during deliberations.

(iii) Prepare and deliver instructions which are readily understood by individuals unfamiliar with the legal system.

(d) Before dismissing a jury at the conclusion of a case, the trial judge shall

(i) Release the jurors from their duty of confidentiality;

(ii) Explain their rights regarding inquiries from counsel or the press; and

(iii) Advise them that they are discharged from service or specify when they must report again.

The judge should express appreciation to the jurors for their service, but shall not express approval or disapproval of the result of the deliberation.

(e) All communications between the judge and members of the jury panel from the time of reporting to the courtroom for voir dire until dismissal shall be in writing or on the record in open court. Counsel for each party shall be informed of such communication and given the opportunity to be heard unless waived.

North Dakota Statutes and Rules: Sections 28-14-08, 28-14-16, 28-14-18, 29-17-14, 29-21-28, 29-22-05, 29-22-06, and 29-22-22, N.D.C.C.; Rule 51, N.D.R.Civ.P., and Rules 30 and 43, N.D.R.Crim.P.

Note: Proper orientation and instruction of jurors is critical to their understanding of their duties and responsibilities.


(a) Juries in criminal cases shall consist of

(i) Twelve persons in felony cases:

(ii) Six persons in class A misdemeanor cases unless a defendant makes a timely written demand for a jury of twelve;

(iii) Six persons in all other cases.

(b) Juries in civil cases shall consist of six persons unless any party makes a timely written demand for a jury of nine.

(c) A unanimous decision shall be required for a verdict in all cases heard by a jury, except in civil cases the parties may stipulate to less than a unanimous verdict.

North Dakota Statues and Rules: Sections 28-14-03.1, 29-17-12, N.D.C.C.; Rule 48, N.D.R.Civ.P.; Rule 23, N.D.R.CrimP.; ND Const., Art. I, Sec. 13.


Jury deliberations shall take place under conditions and pursuant to procedures that are designed to ensure impartiality and to enhance rational decision-making.

(a) A jury shall not be required to deliberate after normal working hours unless the trial judge after consultation with jurors and counsel determines that evening or weekend deliberations would not impose an undue hardship upon the jurors and such deliberation is required in the interest of justice.

(b) Instruction shall be provided to personnel who escort and assist jurors during deliberation.

North Dakota Statute: Sections 28-14-17 through 28-14-19, 29-22-01, 29-22-04, and 29-22-09, N.D.C.C.

Note: Proper consideration of facts and evidence requires a jury that is alert and attentive.Marathon jury sessions detract from thoughtful deliberations. This standard provides for normal working hours for jurors. Recognizing, however, that it may be important for the delivery of justice or for the convenience of the parties concerned (including the jurors) the standard allows the judge to make exceptions to the general standard.


(a) A jury shall be sequestered only for the purpose of insulating its members from improper information or influences.

(b) The trial judge shall have the discretion to sequester a jury on the motion of counsel or on the judge's initiative, and the responsibility to oversee the conditions of sequestration.

(c) Instructions regarding the proper methods for complying with sequestration procedures shall be provided to personnel who escort, protect, and assist jurors during sequestration.Use of personnel engaged in law enforcement for escorting and assisting jurors during sequestration is discouraged.

North Dakota Statute: Sections 28-14-16, 28-14-18, and 29-21-27, N.D.C.C.

Note: This standard clarifies that sequestration of jurors is to be used only in rare circumstances.

Effective Date Obsolete Date
01/01/2001 View