The right to trial by jury is a fundamental principle of our democracy and is guaranteed by both the United States Constitution and the Rhode Island Constitution. Trial by jury is the American democratic way of administering justice. In criminal cases, jurors decide whether the state has proven guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Many civil cases, such as suits for damages caused by an accident or contract disputes, are also decided by a jury. Thus, jurors play an important and vital part in the administration of justice.
Accordingly, persons called for jury duty should not ask to be excused except for urgent reasons. The burden is widely distributed and no person is eligible to serve more than once every three (3) years. The court tries to reduce inconvenience to jurors as much as possible. Please see the Jury Service Booklet for further information.