By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Whether you want to do your civic duty or not, the chances of getting selected for jury duty are kind of like hitting the lottery.

“Only about 5 percent out of everyone in the state,” said Kathie LaCosse, jury program coordinator for the state of Minnesota.

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LaCosse says the selection process is computerized, and court officials have no say in who gets selected.

“The list is made up of random voters from the state of Minnesota,” LaCosse said.

She says the computer also looks at the driver’s license list and the state ID list to form a jury pool.

“You have to be 18 years of age, you have to be a resident of the county you serve,” she said.

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And once you are summoned to a trial, it is really up to the attorneys to decide if you make the final cut. Both the plaintiff and defense examine each potential juror.

“They are allowed a certain number of strikes we call them,” LaCosse said.

You can be eliminated for a variety of reasons; from personal bias about the case, to a connection to someone involved in the trial.

Other reasons may include a death in the family, or you could be released because you are starting a new job.

Speaking of that, do not count on getting rich if you do make the final jury panel. Per diem is $10 a day. There is legislation out there right now to increase per diem pay from $10 to $20 a day, which is what it was before 2008.

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LaCosse says you can only serve on jury duty once every four years. Also, you could be charged with a misdemeanor if you decide not to show up.

John Lauritsen