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Jury Duty

WHAT ABOUT JURY DUTY…

Jury service is one of the most important duties of citizenship, and one we hope you will accept with pride.

This information is not intended to take the place of the specific instructions you will get from the judge concerning this case. It simply provides answers to some frequently asked questions, so that you can be better prepared for your term of service.

1. How long do I have to be on jury duty?

Your term will depend on when your service starts and in which county you reside in. It is usually a term of 6-12 months. You will receive a letter specifying your term.

2. How long do the cases last?

There is no “usual” case. You will be told at the beginning of any case you are called for what the court expects from you for a time commitment if you are selected.

3. What is a typical court day?

The court proceedings usually start at 9:00 am, meaning you will have to be ready to be seated by that time. Court will usually end at 5:00 pm. You will be given breaks about every 2 hours, and your lunch recess will be at least 1 hour. You will be expected to make appropriate work or family care arrangements so that you can show up every day, on time.

4. Do I get paid for jury service?

Yes, the county will pay you $50 per day for every day that you serve as a juror. You will also get $.37/mile for your transportation costs (round trip mileage from your residence to the courthouse). If you report for service but are not selected for trial, you will be paid a $10 appearance fee, plus mileage.

5. How do I get in touch with my family during the trial?

You may ask the bailiff about placing calls or taking messages for you. Personal cell phones are not allowed to be used. It’s best to leave them at home.

6. Can I leave the courthouse once the trial starts?

The judge will give you instructions on this at the start of the case. During the evidence part of the trial, you generally will be able to leave for lunch and at the end of the day. Once you are in deliberations, you will be sequestered (meaning all kept together), with further instructions from the judge.

7. Is it true that I can’t talk to anyone while I am serving as a juror?

The judge will give you specific instructions about this. Generally, though, you will be told to avoid any outside contacts about this case, including reading the paper, listening to the TV or radio news, or talking to anyone about the case. Once the trial is concluded, you will be free to discuss the case with anyone you choose, but you are under no obligation to do so. If you do decide to discuss it, you should treat it with the same degree of solemnity as if you were talking about it in the presence of your fellow jurors or under oath in the courtroom in the presence of the parties. Always keep in mind that you and your fellow jurors have deliberated and stated personal opinions with the understanding that they were being expressed in confidence. Please respect the privacy of the views of the other jurors.

8. Will my picture be taken by the papers or television reporters?

In most cases, the media will respect your right to privacy, so that you won’t be approached, questioned, interviewed, or photographed until after the conclusion of the trial. Sometimes the judge might specifically instruct the media about this. If you have a particular concern, please let one of the bailiffs know so that this can be addressed.

9. Where do I park?

Parking usually is not designated. You are free to park in any public lot or on the street surrounding the courthouse unless the judge instructs you otherwise.

10. How will I know what to do?

Being a juror requires no special skills or legal knowledge, only that you be honest, impartial, and willing to keep an open mind. The judge will instruct you about the law that applies in this case. The attorneys will tell you what they think you need to know. And you may be able to take notes during the trial, depending on the case.



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