Lets say someone doesn't want to serve jury duty. He shows up when summoned but states to the judge in no uncertain terms that he intends to vote guilty, regardless of the content of the case, if he is made a juror.

Obviously he will be strike as a Juror. However, I'm curious if there is any penalty he would suffer for the threat of dereliction of his duty as a juror, or if he would just be allowed to get what he wants and go on his merry way?

  • "Tell them that you'll make a terrific juror, because you can spot guilty people (snaps fingers) just like that." -- George Carlin
    – EvilSnack
    Commented Jun 7, 2022 at 16:35

2 Answers 2


In the cases that I have been involved with in which juries are being selected, I have seen this happen a few times.

As a practical matter, most trial lawyers follow the rule that if someone really, really doesn't want to be on your jury, that you don't want him either (regardless of his likely position on the merits as he may lead to a hung jury or mistrial) and will not contest a challenge for cause even if the potential juror is not legally eligible to be struck but obviously is very unhappy with having to serve.

But, judges don't want to start a rush to get out of jury duty and want to discourage this and use a variety of tactics to do so.

One of the most common approaches that judges take is to extensively probe the potential juror about why he intends to vote as he does in the (usually successful) hope of finding a reason that would not apply to every possible case that could come before the court. (The person making the B.S. claim that he'd find the person guilty usually isn't smart enough to see this coming.)

For example, the potential juror might say that he doesn't believe in drug laws, or that he can't be impartial to immigrants since his cousin was murdered by an immigrant.

Once a judge pins down a reason like that, the judge will often announce that the juror is striken from the pool for this particular case but will stay in the jury pool for the next week or so, until a case that does not present such a problem arises and that the prospective juror must appear each day, all day, until he is seated on a jury or rejected for a reason other than this particular cause.

This leaves the smart alec screwed relative to his original goal to get out of jury duty, and discourages others from following suit.

I've seen this done several times, so I think that it must be something that they teach judges in their annual judicial education seminars.

  • personal experience always get's first dibs on answer selection. Thank you for your answer :)
    – dsollen
    Commented Jun 12, 2017 at 13:08

Often, you aren't screened only for one trial, but for several trials. If you declare yourself biased for one trial, you might be asked to be considered for a second, or third, etc.

If you continue to give answers that make yourself ineligible such that the judge does not believe you are telling the truth or acting in good faith, you can be held in contempt of court.

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