Jury Info

Jury Duty Overview

The right to a trial by jury is the privilege of every person in the United States, whether or not that person is a citizen. This cherished right is guaranteed by both the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Montana. Jury trials cannot be held unless people - citizens of Lewis and Clark County, Montana - are willing to perform their civic duty. Jurors are essential to the administration of justice.


Juror Instructions

1. Read the summons: The address, date, and time of your appearance is written on the summons you received in the mail. If you need to be excused from jury duty, you need to provide a written request to be excused from jury duty. You can email the request to cdcjury@lccountymt.gov, or fax it to 406-447-8275. 

2. Inform your employer: Your employer must allow you time off for jury duty. Employers cannot discharge an employee called for jury service as long as the employee gives reasonable notice of the summons.

3. Your day in Court: Plan to attend as a juror from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. The time you are released will depend on the Court's schedule. Please dress appropriately: shorts, tank tops, or bare feet are not permissible.


Letter to Jurors


Dear Fellow Citizen,

As the enclosed summons indicates, you have been selected for jury duty for Lewis and Clark County District Court for the jury term from September 1, 2021, to August 31, 2022.  This year juries are selected from a combined list of registered voters, licensed drivers, and state identification card holders. Due to the difficulty of combining these lists, you may receive more than one summons for jury duty or may receive a summons even though you have been permanently excused.  If you receive more than one jury summons or have been permanently excused in the past, please contact this office immediately.

The fact that you have been called to serve does not mean that you must be on call or duty the entire term. During the jury term, we will only call a portion of the entire panel for each trial and once you have served as a juror on a specific case, you may request to be excused for the remainder of the term.  You will receive written or telephonic notice as to the exact date you are to appear for each trial.  The average trial lasts about three days and you will not be called to serve on another trial for approximately two months.  You will be paid for your jury service approximately 10 days after the last day of the trial.

Please complete the enclosed Jury Questionnaire and return it to the Clerk of District Court as soon as possible. If you know you will be out of town during the time from September 1, 2021, to August 31, 2022, please write the information on the back of the jury questionnaire.  After you have returned your jury questionnaire, please inform the Clerk of District Court by telephone (406-447-8225) or email at cdcjury@lccountymt.gov if you intend to be out of the county as soon as possible.  If you have a change of address, a new telephone number or a new place of employment, inform the Clerk of District Court so the office can contact you if a case settles before trial.  If there are emergencies that occur and you find it impossible to serve because of this emergency, please contact the Clerk of District Court as soon as possible.  You may be excused for scheduled vacations if you notify the Clerk’s office prior to being drawn for a specific trial.

Most of us are busy people and will be inconvenienced by jury duty but before you request excuse from jury service, seriously consider your decision.  This is our court system, and it depends on each of us to make it work. Few who come before our courts thought they would ever be there.  The quality of justice in our court system will only be as good as the composite intelligence and wisdom of our juries.  If you ever go to court on a serious matter, it most likely will be right here.  Devote a few days to jury duty and provide the courts with quality justice in Lewis and Clark County.

Please return the completed questionnaire today to the Clerk of District Court, P.O. Box 158, Helena, MT 59624.  If you must request to be excused from jury duty the entire term, complete the Affidavit for Excuse on the back of the jury questionnaire and return the affidavit and completed questionnaire to the Clerk of District Court.  If you are suffering from a physical condition that makes it impossible for you to serve, you must also include a doctor’s statement with your Affidavit for Excuse and questionnaire. 

Thank you for your prompt assistance on this matter,


Angie Sparks

Clerk of District Court


Online Jury Questionnaire

The program for the online questionnaire is not compatible with most mobile devices.

Jurors MUST complete the questionnaire BEFORE submitting the Affidavit for Excusal(DOCX, 16KB)
Your signature on the Affidavit does NOT need to be notarized

Please email the Affidavit for Excusal to cdcjury@lccountymt.gov or print off and mail to:

228 E Broadway St, Rm 104
Helena MT 59601.

Jury Trials

Please double check the appearance date on your summons to ensure accurate trial information. 

Judge Seeley ( yellow summons) scheduled for Monday June 10, 2024 is on scheduled please arrive at the Courthouse by 8:30am 

Judge Seeley (yellow summons) scheduled for Monday June 17, 2024 is on schedule please arrive at the Courthouse by 8:30am 

Judge McMahon (Blue summons) scheduled for Monday June 17, 2024 is on schedule please arrive at the Courthouse by 8:30am 

Judge Seeley (Yellow summons) Scheduled for Wednesday June 19, 2024 is on schedule please arrive at the Courthouse by 8:30am 

Judge Abbott (purple summons) schedule for Monday june 24, 2024 is on schedule please arrive at the Courthouse by 8:30am 

Judge Seeley (yellow summons) schedule for Monday June 24, 2024 is on schedule please arrive at the Courthouse by 8:30am 


VACATED jury trials: jurors do NOT need to appear.



If you have dates you need to be made unavailable for jury duty, please email those to cdcjury(at)lccountymt.gov. Knowing ahead of time makes it easier for us to work around your schedule, therefore less inconvenient for you.

Who can I contact with questions regarding my Jury Summons?

For questions, please call Charity Axtmann at 406-447-8225.


Where is the Courthouse located?

We are located at 228 Broadway, in between the Myrna Loy Center and the Lewis and Clark County Jail, in the same building as Lewis and Clark County Justice Court.


Where Can I Park?

Jurors may park in the Courthouse parking lot north of the building (between the Courthouse and 5th Avenue), in the small parking lot to the northeast of the Courthouse (between N Ewing and B&B Market on N. Rodney Street), or in the City of Helena Parking lots along Cruz Avenue (you must have your Juror Summons visibly placed on the dash in order to park free of charge).

Jurors should be aware that parking in the 1-Hour parking located between the Myrna Loy Center and the Courthouse may be ticketed by the Helena Parking Commission. 


I'm going out of town...

Jurors can request to be made unavailable for certain times: snowbirds, college students, a scheduled vacation, upcoming doctor appointment, incoming guests, or out of town work. The Courts draw juries two weeks in advance of the trial so we ask that as soon as you know a date you will not be able to serve on a jury you call the Clerk's office at (406) 447-8225 or email and let us know.


Trial Process


Judge: Appointed by the governor or elected by the voters, a judge has the authority and duty to hear and decide questions law. The judge functions to provide equal and fair trials.

Attorney: A licensed practitioner of the law, employed either by a party to the case or by the county to prepare and present a case.

Bailiff / Clerk: A court attendant. Compiles official files and exhibits, swears in jurors, maintains records of the court proceedings, maintains order in the courtroom.

Court Reporter: The person who records legal proceedings for the official record of the proceeding.

Interpreter: Interpreters are hired by the court to help translate foreign languages and to aid disabled participants.


Settlement of Cases: The law encourages people to settle their disputes out of court. In fact, lawyers will negotiate right up to the moment the trial begins. The trial may even be delayed while the lawyers try to work out a settlement with the judge in chambers. The lawyers may continue to negotiate out of the jury's hearing, while the trial is in process. As a juror, you will not be told what is happening unless the two sides agree up on settlement terms, in which even the trial will end, and you will be dismissed. 

Settlement occurs in both civil and criminal cases. In civil cases, lawyers try to reach an agreement which satisfies both sides. This may take the form of a monetary amount which both sides believe satisfies their complaints. In criminal cases, the county attorney, who represents the prosecution, may plea bargain with the defendant. A plea bargain is an agreement between the county not to prosecute by means of a trial in exchange for the defendant's admittance that he or she committed a crime.


Jury Selection: Those summoned for jury duty will be taken into a courtroom. The judge will state the names of the parties in the case and the names of the lawyers who will represent them. The judge also will tell the jurors the subject matter of the case - for example, a drunk driving case, a burglary case, or a civil suit such as an automobile accident.

After introductions, the judge and attorneys will question each of the potential jurors seated. The purpose of this questioning is to find out if that person can be fair and impartial. One of the attorneys may "challenge a juror for cause." This means that the attorney will ask the judge to excuse that particular juror for a specific reason. For example, if a person knows one of the attorneys, that juror may favor one side. Each lawyer has an unlimited number of challenges for cause. This process is called "voir dire." 

Each attorney also has the right to a limited number of peremptory challenges. A peremptory challenge means that an attorney, without giving any reasons at all, may ask that a person be excused from the jury. The attorney may make these challenges for most any reason, except if the challenge appears to be motivated by racial or gender discrimination. The opposing attorney will object if he or she believes that the peremptory challenge is not based on acceptable reasons.

After the required number of jurors is selected, the jury panel is sworn in by the clerk.

Opening Statements: First, the attorney for the side bringing the case will tell the jury what he or she intends to prove. In a civil case, this is the plaintiff's attorney; in a criminal case, this is the prosecuting attorney. The attorney for the defense may then make an opening statement or may wait until after the other side presents its evidence. 

Presentation of the Evidence: After the opening statement, the side bringing the case - the plaintiff, petitioner, or the state - will present its evidence. There are different ways to present evidence. A party may call witnesses and ask them questions. The attorney for the other side will also ask questions, this is called cross-examination. Each attorney may bring in letters, papers, charts, photographs, or any other exhibit to prove its case.

Before the other side puts on its defense, there may be an interruption in the jury proceedings, when motions will be made. Sometimes the defense will not present evidence, claiming that the plaintiff has not made its case. Usually though, the jury will hear the defense attorney's opening statement, and again listen to witnesses and see exhibits.

Instructions to the Jury: At this point, the judge will instruct the jury on its duties. the judge will tell the jury what law applies to the facts. 

Closing Statements: Finally, both attorneys will sum up the case from their perspectives. Taking turns, each will tell the jury what he or she believes the evidence shows and why it favors his or her side. At this point, the bailiff will move the jury into the jury room so the jurors can deliberate and decide on a verdict.

Conduct in the Jury Room: The first motion of business in a jury room is to select one of the jurors as a foreperson. The foreperson leads the discussion and tries to encourage everyone to join the discussion. Every juror should have input; the purpose of these deliberations is to have a robust, uninhibited discussion which will lead to a calm, unbiased reasoning.

In civil cases, it takes three-fourths of the jurors to reach a verdict. In criminal cases, all jurors must agree - the verdict must be unanimous.

The Verdict: Reaching a decision - a verdict- may take a few hours or days. Once the jury has reached its decision, the foreperson will record the verdict on an official form. In turn, the bailiff will inform the judge that the jury is ready, and the jury will return to the jury box.

The judge will ask the jury if they reached a verdict. The foreperson will answer, handing the written verdict to the clerk. The clerk will read the verdict aloud, mark the record accordingly and ask, "Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, is this your verdict?" The jurors should reply to the question by answering "yes" or "no."

Sometimes one of the parties will ask that the jury be polled. This means that the clerk will ask each juror individually if this is his or her own verdict. the jury's service will then be complete.