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Sat Dec 02 2023

5 min read

8 Things to Remember If You Are Summoned For Jury Duty

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jury duty

If you get a summon from the court about jury duty, you might find yourself perplexed about what it is about and what to expect from it. As a person who has not done jury duty before, the chaos is real. Those who have done it might be bothered about the days that they’ll have to take off from work and how they’ll be paid based on that. There will yet be some people who’d be looking forward to it and will celebrate at the mere appearance of the court summon. But what is jury duty and how does jury duty work? Jury duty is essentially your role in democracy.

You become a part of the jury and help the court decide on the case by presenting your opinion which is based on facts and pieces of evidence. This is an important part of any democracy as it involves a common man in the legal proceedings thereby keeping it fair. But what is the process behind this, you might wonder. Leave your worries for us to solve.

How does jury duty work?

  1. First of all, you’re summoned for jury duty. This can be done by mail or any other source through which you are called by the court for duty on a specific date and time. Ensure that you talk about this with your employer.

Remember that an employer is legally bound to allow you to go for jury duty. However, paying or not paying for those days remains his choice. Another notable fact is that it is liable for you to attend the court summon without which you’re liable to pay a hefty fine and spend some time in prison.

  1. When the day of arrival at the jury comes, you will be called to a jury assembly room. Here everyone invited to be a part of the jury is called in. When everyone is called, they give you some instructions or they might even show you a video that explains how the selection process happens and what trials you have to go through to be a jury member for a case.
  2. Once that you’re clear with this, you will be called into the courtrooms at your slotted time. For this, they will first call your name after which you have to go to the courtroom to perform your particular jury duty.

However, in the case that your name is not called that day, you have to appear in the same place the next day to wait for your turn.

  1. Once in the courtroom, you’ll meet the judge of the case. He explains to you the various aspects of the case, the key details, and information about whether it is a criminal or civil case. Following it, he provides you with some instructions that you have to follow to ensure that you can be a part of the jury.
jury duty
  1. Now that the instructions are laid down, the judge asks you if you have any issues or queries about any provided information. Then, he asks about whether some restraint can stop you from performing jury duty right now.

It can be any health issue, personal issue, or other professional commitment. If you want to exempt jury duty for that period, it is important to say it at that time. Once that you are completely explaining your side, the judge decides whether or not you will get to be relieved of your jury duty.

  1. If you’re thinking about how jury duty works, the basic law is impartiality. They don’t expect anything else from you other than being impartial about the case. Therefore, a process called voir dire is held. In this process, the attorneys and the judge ask all the potential jurors if they can be impartial with the case.

They have to remain away from any bias and have no interest in the benefit of any side which is involved in the case. Throughout the hearing, they have to maintain a tone of neutrality and only be moved by facts and pieces of evidence. The responses of the potential jurors are heard. Then, if someone’s response is deemed unfit or considered inappropriate based on the requirements of the courthouse, that juror is dismissed. 

The courthouse is not liable to provide him with any information about his dismissal. However, even if you’re dismissed, you can be called to the courthouse later for another case and have to start from step 2.

  1. After the voir dire, the judges and the attorneys finalize about 12 jurors to work on that case. Some jurors have also been selected as alternate jurors in case the main jurors are not present on the day of the hearing. If you’re not selected by this jury, you will have to wait for the court orders and obey them accordingly.
  2. The trial can go on for as long as a few months. You will have to look at the facts and shreds of evidence and form an opinion accordingly. Also, you then have to form an opinion about the case and present it to the other jury members.

After the response of all jury members is received, everyone talks and reaches a single verdict which is announced by the judge. However, if the jury is not able to reach a conclusive response, the jury is said to be ‘hung’.

Final words

Truly, jury duty is your part of democracy. It enables you to closely observe the process of justice from the place where it is served. You are legally obliged to appear for jury duty when you receive the mail for the same, so ensure to talk to your employer about it from the very first day.

In addition to this, even if your employer refuses to pay you for the time that you are on jury duty, the state is liable to pay you about $40 per day, depending upon the laws of the state about the same. If you’re dismissed from jury duty or not selected as the final jurors, you will have to do jury duty for another case or as ever it shall be considered appropriate by the courthouse. 


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