If you have been called up for jury duty, be that for a petit jury or a grand jury, you may wonder what this all entails. Adam M Smith has taken the time to pull together some of the most frequently asked questions about the different juries, what it means to be called for duty, and so on. Hopefully, this information will lift some of the veil of confusion.
FAQs on Jury Duty According to Adam M Smith
How old must you be to be a juror?
Men/women over the age of 18 can all be called to serve as a juror. If they are over the age of 70, they may request to be excused.
How long will I be a juror?
This depends. It is common for a district court to use a petit jury for misdemeanor cases. This generally means jury members can be called into a case for two weeks. On a grand jury, people usually sit for 18 months, hearing all the felony charges. Usually, they sit from June until the December of the following year, or from December until June of the following year.
Where did they find my information?
Each state has county clerk’s offices where details about citizens are held. Indiana, for instance, uses the voter registration records and selects at random.
Can I refuse jury duty?
No, it is mandatory to attend if you have been called. However, failing to appear is not a criminal offense.
What are the consequences of failing to appear?
If you have been summoned for jury duty but you don’t appear, you don’t face penalties or legal consequences. However, you can be selected again.
What if I can’t make the date?
You will first receive a Juror Qualification Questionnaire, which doesn’t give you any dates. Once you have completed that, you will receive you actual summons, which is the Federal Court Jury Service Questionnaire. If there are dates that you cannot serve, then you can list that here. Sometimes, you will have to evidence it as well.
What type of case will I hear?
You can hear civil cases and criminal cases. As a member of a petit jury, it will be your role to determine guilt. As a member of a grand jury, your role will be to determine whether or not someone should be prosecuted.
How often do I have to be on jury duty?
You can be called for county court jury once, and for federal court jury once. After that, you will be exempt.
Why do I have to fill in questionnaires?
The Federal Court Jury Service Questionnaire is the second form to be filled in, and it often comes many months after you received the Juror Qualification Questionnaire. If deemed necessary, they may ask you to complete the Juror Qualification Questionnaire again, to check your circumstances haven’t changed.
I forgot to send the forms back within 10 days, what do I do?
Simply send it as soon as possible.