What Is "One Day/One Trial" And Why It Should Be Standard For All Courts

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One Day/One Trial jury duty service systems are becoming increasingly common across the United States.
United States Corporate/Commercial Law
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One Day/One Trial jury duty service systems are becoming increasingly common across the United States. Dallas County, for instance, was one of the first jurisdictions to implement the system for jury duty.1 It started even earlier in Harris County, Texas in the 1970s,2 but some jurisdictions had not yet implemented this system prior to the 21st Century.3

One Day/One Trial (sometimes referred to as ODOT) is a jury selection process where if a prospective juror is not selected to serve on a jury the day they report for jury duty, they will be released to go home, unless the trial court instructs them to return.4 One Day/One Trial, and shorter jury services in general, can benefit both the juror and the justice system as a whole.

Benefits to the Juror

The One Day/One Trial system benefits both employees who serve on juries and their employers. Employees will lose less potential income because they will have a clear and shorter time frame defined for serving as a juror.5 Likewise, employers will have an easier time finding a substitute or someone to cover for that employee since the time period is fairly brief and predictable.6 In this way, the ODOT system expands representation on juries by making it easier for everyone to serve as a juror because barriers like taking time off work and losing income are reduced.7

Jurors also benefit from the One Day/One Trial by having more opportunities to serve on the jury, which can be a positive and educational act of civil service.8 A study done in the late 1980s showed that in a ODOT system where it was significantly more likely for prospective jurors to sit through only one voir dire process, there was only a slight decrease in the number of people who were selected to sit on a jury – meaning that more people overall had the opportunity to serve as jurors.9

Benefits to the Justice System

One of the primary benefits of the One Day/One Trial system is the increased diversity of jury pools that it offers.10 As mentioned earlier, ODOT systems ease the burden of taking off work thus allowing more people a chance to serve on a jury.11 It also captures a broader cross-section of the workforce because the shorter time of services (usually one day) makes it easier for potential jurors to schedule time off work.12 A diverse jury pool and diverse juries are broadly recognized to lead to a healthier, fairer justice system.13

A One Day/One Trial system also increases the overall effectiveness of the justice system. First, despite some concerns from critics, ODOT systems have actually been shown to reduce overall costs and costs per juror– even though more jurors are being summoned.14 These reductions are benefits of the shorter timeframe of the ODOT system — as opposed to traditional costs associated with employers continually covering employee jurors for longer periods, and the courts' costs of maintaining jurors who are serving, such as parking or travel expenses, meals, lost wages, etc.15

But more than that, jurors have reported being more engaged and attentive during the process and are more likely to appear when summoned because jurors know they will only be held for one day or one trial.16 While concerns over losing 'veteran jurors' have been raised in an argument against the ODOT system, fresh jurors are often less cynical, more cooperative, and approach trials they are placed on with a fresh perspective, unaffected by prior trial service.17

Overall, a One Day/One Trial system brings many benefits while having little downside, and every jurisdiction could likely benefit from using the One Day/One Trial system.


  1. Dallas County, Jury System (last visited March 15, 2022).
  2. G. Thomas Munsterman, Evaluation of One Day/One Trial Term of Jury Service, National Center for State Courts (February 7, 1990) at 1.
  3. Hon. Jacqueline Connor (ret.), What One Day One Trial Means to You, CAALA Advocate Magazine (Oct. 2007).
  4. Id.
  5. Stephen Michael Tow, Fact Sheet: One Day or One Trial Jury Service, Judicial Council of California (January 2022; Originally created January 2016).
  6. Id.
  7. Terry F. Holtrop, An Evaluation of the One-Week, One-Trial Juror Term of Service for 17th Circuit Court for Kent County, Michigan, Institute for Court Management Court Development Program (May 2004) at 43.
  8. Munsterman, supra note 2, at 3.
  9. Id.
  10. Holtrop, supra note 7, at 28.
  11. Id. at 43.
  12. Munsterman, supra, note 2 at 5.
  13. Ashish S. Joshi and Christina T. Kline, Lack of Jury Lack of Jury Diversity: A National Problem with Individual Consequences, American Bar Association (September 1, 2015).
  14. Holtrop, supra, note 7, at 33-34; Munsterman, supra, note 2, at 10-11.
  15. Holtrop, supra, note 7, at 33-34.
  16. Holtrop, supra, note 7, at 40-41; Munsterman, supra, note 2, at 6.
  17. Holtrop, supra, note 7, at 40-41, 49, 53; Munsterman, supra, note 2, at 6.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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