“Section 8890.Who Competent to Act as Juror.”
“A person is competent to act as a juror if:
1. A citizen of the United States of the age of twenty-one and not more than seventy years, who shall have been a resident of the state one year, and of the county ninety days before being selected and returned.
2. In possession of natural faculties, and of ordinary intelligence and not decrepit.
3. Possessed of sufficient knowledge of the English language.
4. Assessed on the last assessment roll of the county on property belonging to him or her.”
“Approved March 17, 1939.”
18 March 1939 — Independent Record
“H.B. 161, the women’s jury bill, which was buffeted from pillar to post as legislators sought to revise and amend it — and which several times narrowly escaped death on the floor of both houses, became a law when the governor gave his approval to the bill. The measure provides that Montana women become eligible for jury duty in January, 1940.”
2 January 1940 — Independent Record
“New Year Brings Women Right to Jury Service Under Montana Statutes”
“The new year brings a new privilege to the women of Montana — the right to serve on juries.
Effective today is a measure passed by the 26th legislative assembly in 1939 giving women the right to sit on juries, a right which has been granted women in at least 25 other states in the union. . . .
The measure which the 26th legislative assembly, after much debate, finally wrote into the statute books was backed by women’s club leaders and those prominent in other branches of women’s activities. For more than 10 years such a law had been sought by women’s leaders but the past legislature was the first to grant the right. Once, during the progress of the bill, cold water was almost poured on the idea when a measure was introduced which would have required the women to pay a poll tax — the same poll tax which the state recently decided men had been paying unnecessarily since 1921. But the poll tax bill for women died in the closing hours of the legislature. . .
Generally, the same regulations governing exemptions apply to women as to men but especially applicable to women are exemptions granted teachers, nurses engaged on cases, and persons caring directly for one or more children.
Further, the law provides that a juror must ‘not be excused by a court for slight or trivial cause, or for hardship or inconvenience to his or her business, but only when material injury or destruction of his or her property or of the property entrusted to him or her is threatened, or when his or her own health, or the sickness or death of a member of his or her family requires his or her absence.’ . . . .
Another problem also faces officials in more than one county: There are some courthouses without facilities for accommodation of women jurors during overnight service.”
Boston Post — 23 August 1896