How Jurors Are Chosen

A Jury Chosen

Your name has been drawn at random from a list of licensed drivers in Washtenaw County. From this list of individuals, jurors will be selected to comprise the jury panel. Such persons, however, must be U.S citizens.

When you arrive at the courthouse, a jury clerk will meet you in the jury assembly room or other designated room. Before the selection of a jury begins, you will be asked to swear or affirm that you will truthfully answer the questions concerning you fairness and ability to sit as a juror on a particular case.

Jury Pool to Jury Box

Being summoned for jury service does not guarantee that a person will actually serve on a jury. When a jury is needed for a trial, the group of qualified jurors is taken to the courtroom where the trial will take place. The judge and the attorneys then ask the potential jurors questions to determine their suitability to serve on the jury, a process called voir dire. The purpose of voir dire is to exclude from the jury people who may not be able to decide the case fairly. Members of the panel who know any person involved in the case, who have information about the case, or who may have strong prejudices about the people or issues involved in the case, typically will be excused by the judge. The attorneys also may exclude a certain number of jurors without giving a reason.

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Compensation

You will be paid by the county in an amount not less than $6.00 and not more than $50.00 per day or fraction of a day served. However, the Commissioners Court of a county may choose to reduce or eliminate the daily compensation for prospective jurors who attend court for only one day without actually serving on a jury.

The county may choose to provide additional forms of compensation or reimbursement, including:

  • free public transportation
  • mileage reimbursement;
  • transportation cost reimbursement;
  • free parking;
  • child-care facilities; or
  • free meals.

Your local court will provide you with information regarding the existence and extent of any of these programs.

Charitable Contributions

Both you and other prospective jurors who report for jury service will be given an opportunity to voluntarily donate your juror pay to certain local or state charitable causes. When you report for jury service, you should receive or request a form that allows you to direct the county treasurer to donate your reimbursement for jury service to a designated charity or fund which should include:

  • the Texas Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund
  • your county’s Child Welfare Board
  • a designated local family violence shelter; or
  • any other program(s) approved by the commissioners court.

Qualifications for Jury Service

You do not need any special skills or legal knowledge to be a juror!

To be qualified to serve as a juror you must:

  1. be at least 18 years of age;
  2. be a citizen of the United States;
  3. be a resident of this state and of the county in which you are to serve as a juror;
  4. be qualified under the Constitution and laws to vote in the county in which you are to serve as a juror (Note: You do not have to be registered to vote to be qualified to vote);
  5. be of sound mind and good moral character;
  6. be able to read and write;
  7. not have served as a juror for six days during the preceding three months in the county court or during the preceding six months in the district court; and
  8. not have been convicted of, or be under indictment or other legal accusation for, misdemeanor theft or a felony.

*Note that the completion of deferred adjudication is not a disqualifying “conviction”.

(Texas Government Code § 62.102. General Qualifications for Jury Service. Code of Criminal Procedure, Articles 35.16 et. seq.)

If you have any doubts as to your eligibility to serve on a jury, contact the judge or court as indicated on your jury summons.

Working Together: Judge and Jury

The judge determines the appropriate law that should be applied to the case and the jury finds the facts in the case based on what is presented to them during the proceedings.

At the end of a trial, the judge instructs the jury on the applicable law. While the jury must obey the judge’s instructions as to the law, the jury alone is responsible for determining the facts of the case.

What you should wear

There is no specific dress code for jury duty, but you should avoid clothing that’s excessively casual, revealing, or in bad condition. If you’re impaneled on a case, the judge may give you additional instructions on what to wear to court.

If Selected

Once selected as a juror, you are expected to listen to the judge, witnesses and attorneys, consider the evidence presented, and make an intelligent and just decision based on the evidence presented to you following the instructions provided by the court.

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