Court Shorts: Jury Service

On the YouTube channel of, a video in the series "Court Shorts" focuses on the importance of jury service. 

In this five-minute video, especially of interest to a high school and older audience, students question federal judges from across the country about the role of a jury and why jury service is important.  The key takeaway is that jury service is one of the most direct ways of participating in American democracy.


How do you use it?

Because of the brevity of this resource, it is best to use it as an introduction to the subject of jury duty. Because those being interviewed are federal judges, another judge using this for his/her own presentation, might find those additional judicial voices to be useful in articulating the reasons why citizens should be willing and even eager to participate on juries. 

The video would also nicely set up an in-person question-and-answer session with a judge or, alternatively, a panel discussion with judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys.

In addition to this video, the website includes a broad range of potentially related teaching materials. In addition to this series of "Court Shorts" videos there are several other related series. One set of resources that could be mined is the webpage Jury Service:  The 411 on the site and another page lists resources relating to Juror Appreciation and Law Day.

 This "Court Shorts: Jury Service" video does not provide any specific additional lessons, questions, handouts or case studies. Any background information about the principle of jury service and judicial independence would have to come from supplemental information supplied by the presenter.  

Who is the audience?

Older students, in high school and college who are already eligible or will shortly themselves be able to be called for jury duty will find the "Court Shorts: Jury Service" video of greatest interest.

What other resources will complement this?

  1. A Conversation on the Constitution: Jury Service  Videos and lesson plan from the Leonore Annenberg Institute for Civics (M, H, A)
  2. Civil Mock Trials  Case study/mock trial from Street Law (H, A)
  3. Considering the Constitution  Document from Scholastic (P, M, H) 
  4. Criminal Mock Trials  Case study/mock trial from Street Law (H, A)
  5. Deciding by Group: You Are the Jury  Document from Scholastic (P, M, H)  
  6. Juror Selection  Document from Scholastic (M, H) 
  7. Pathways to the Bench  Videos from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (H)
  8. Quiz #3: Civil Cases  Lesson Plan from the Federal Judicial Center (M, H, A)
  9. Quiz #4: Criminal Cases  Lesson Plan from the Federal Judicial Center (M, H, A)
  10. Texting While Driving  Case study/mock trial from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts (H, A)
  11. Trial Court 'Go Fish'  Game from iCivics (P, M)

Additional Recommended Resources Off-Site Links

  1. A Constitutional Timeline
    • Multi-aged audience timeline that highlights key dates in history of Constitution, with links to text, audio and video clips. From National Constitution Center's Constitution Day site. 
  2. Interactive Constitution
    • Multi-aged audience site that enables users to search Constitution by keyword or topic, with access to explanatory materials throughout. From National Constitution Center.   
  3. The Annenberg Guide to the United States Constitution
    • Multi-aged audience site that lists the text of each section of every article in the Constitution, and provides explanation of what the text means in plain language.  From the Leonore Annenberg Institute of Civics. 
  4. Understanding the Federal Courts
    • Multi-aged online textbook-type document that includes sections on Article III, the Federal Court system and the geographical boundaries of the Courts of Appeal and the District Courts, the code of conduct for judges, juror qualifications, exemptions and terms of service, as well as categories of bankruptcy cases.  From the Administrative Office of U.S. Courts.