Saturday Oct 16, 2021

Frequently asked questions about juries and jury service

For anyone who has faced the jury request, or wondered how it works, this is the article to read. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about juries, jury duties, and more. If you are concerned about a recent request for jury service, or did not appear as a juror, contact a trusted criminal defense attorney for advice on what to do next. In the meantime, read the questions below to get answers to your initial queries.

What is the age requirement to serve as a member of the jury?

The national age requirement to be an eligible federal court jury is 18 years old. Those over 70 years of age can apply to be exempted from jury duty.

How did the courts obtain my information?

It varies from state to state. Check with your county clerk’s office for information on how your city obtains your jury information. For example, in Indiana, they use the state’s voter registry and the Supreme Court jury roster to find potential jurors.

Is jury duty mandatory?

Yes, jury duty is required and you must attend; however, it is not technically illegal for someone not to appear, so there are no criminal consequences.

What happens if I don’t show up?

If you do not show up after receiving an official subpoena, there are no legal consequences or penalties; instead, you will simply be placed back in the jury pool for future selection.

What happens if I cannot present my citation date?

In the initial questionnaire (Jury Qualification Questionnaire), you are not yet being cited. The actual summons will arrive at a later date, after the second questionnaire. When you receive the second questionnaire (Federal Court Jury Service Questionnaire), you can list the dates you are unable to serve in Part 1, Question # 7. If you cannot meet most of the requested month-long timeframe, you will need to complete a financial hardship application form. If you are unable to serve due to a medical condition, please submit a Physician Statement with your initial questionnaire (Jury Qualification Questionnaire).

What is the difference between a trial and a grand jury?

Grand juries are different from trial juries because they meet to determine whether or not there is sufficient probable cause to pursue. They do not pronounce on guilt or innocence. In fact, grand juries only hear arguments from the prosecution, not the defense.

What kind of case will I be in?

Most cases are civil, but you may be in a criminal case. You won’t know anything until the jury presentation assembly.

I’ve already served as a jury in a county court. Why are they calling me to serve again?

You must also serve in federal court. Then you are exempt from jury duty.

I already filled out a questionnaire. Why do I have to complete another one?

Sometimes the Federal Court Jury Service Questionnaire comes months after the Jury Qualification Questionnaire. And since their information could have changed in that time, they send a second questionnaire to confirm the accuracy.

I completed the questionnaire, but forgot to send it within 10 days. What do I do now?

Send it as soon as possible. The courts understand that people go out of town, on vacation or have other circumstances in their life, so there is no penalty, you will simply be on a waiting list.

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