Stuck with jury duty? See what you have in store for you!
You received a card in the mail advising that you have been called to serve on jury duty. Upon receipt of the card comes anxiety. You have no idea where to go and what time to be there. What do I need to bring and for how long do I have to serve. Relax, most of the reporting information you need is on the card.
First the reporting card will tell you where and when you have to report. In most counties jurors report to a large waiting room. When you walk into the waiting area you will be asked to scan your card. As you sit in the waiting area you will be instructed by a member of the court staff about your role as a juror.
While you are waiting to get called into service, the lawyers and judges are busy outlining the case and resolving any pretrial issues. Once all the pretrial issues have been resolved the court clerk will call for the jury panel and request that a certain number of jurors report to the judge’s courtroom.
Upon your arrival to the courtroom, you will observe that all the parties to the litigation are present. Out of respect for your service and the court, counsel and litigants will be standing until allowed by the court to sit. The bailiff will usher the jurors into the pews. Once everyone is in their place, the court will open with a general introduction and explanation of the case.
During the introduction the trial judge will instruct you on some preliminary directions. Most notable:
- Duty of citizens to serve as jurors;
- Excusing jurors for personal reasons based on length of trial;
- Number of jurors to be selected and procedure for taking positions in jury box;
- Counsels right to pre-emptory challenges;
- Introduction of parties, counsel and potential witnesses;
- Identifying any potential witnesses that a juror may know or recognize; and
- Any bias prejudice a juror may have concerning the subject matter of the case
At the conclusion of these preliminary instructions, the trial judge will ask the court clerk to begin pulling individual names out of a box. If your name is called the judge will instruct you where to sit in the jurors’ box. Once seven to eight jurors on a civil case are seated or fourteen jurors on a criminal case are seated, the balance of the jurors are excused and your service begins.
Now that you have an outline of jury service, it should be clear that sitting as a juror is nothing to panic about. You have to be there so enjoy it.
If you are involved in a court matter and need a lawyer, please contact the Law Offices of Anthony Carbone today for a free consultation.