Getting Your Summons
The day has finally come, you’ve been summoned for Jury Duty. While jury duty may have seemed like a fun idea when you were in middle school doing mock trials, as an adult, it doesn’t have quite the same appeal. Regardless of whether you’re less than thrilled to serve on a jury, it is your civic duty as an American Citizen to perform this time-honored tradition and legal duty.
If for some reason, you won’t be able to perform your duties as a juror, you must show up or submit your reason for jury duty exemption at least two weeks before the date that is listed for your summons. You can find a list of legal exemptions here. If for any reason you do not show up or send in your exemption before the two weeks, you could face fines up to $1000 and possibly jail. If there is already a warrant for you missing your jury duty or if for whatever reason you are unsure, call the criminal defense lawyers in Springfield at Missouri Legal immediately.
Jury Assembly & Selection
If you are not eligible for exemption from jury duty, you will need to show up for your summons date, appropriately dressed, and on time. Once you arrive at the courthouse, you’ll be ushered into a room with other potential jurors. From here you will be required to fill out some basic paperwork. As this article points out, depending on the nature of the case, the criminal defense attorney and prosecutor may be very selective about who they choose for the jury. What this basically means is that in some cases, you may be dismissed before the actual selection even takes place.
If you become part of the selected jury, there is another more thorough selection process to whittle down the group of possible jurors the best group of people for the job. This process is called voir dire (speak the truth) and can take several hours. Occasionally, depending on the type of case, jury selection may take days.
At the Voir Dire, the judge and attorney will question people to determine their suitability for the particular case. Questions that may be asked, include, but are not limited to:
- Your personal and professional background
- Your opinions and/or experiences that could relate to the issues in the upcoming trial
- If you have any connections to the case
- If you know anyone involved in the case
- You may ask to speak to the attorneys and judge privately if a personal issue arises in relation to the case
Being Picked for Jury Duty
Congratulations, if you’ve made it this far that means you’ve been selected as a jury member for an upcoming case. And, while every case is different there are a few things that will most likely occur during your time serving jury duty in Missouri.
The judge will provide you with the rules of trial, dates of the trial, when to expect lunches and breaks to occur, and what time you need to be at court each day and when you are done. Most judges and criminal defense attorneys in Springfield are cognizant of jury member’s personal lines and try to stick to these set times as much as possible. However, cases have been known to go over times often during a trial, especially criminal trials.
By law, employers are not allowed to fire an employee who is serving on jury duty. However, they are not required to pay your hourly or salary wage while you are in jury duty. But the good news is, once the trial is over you will, in most cases, receive payment for your service.
During the trial, when both the plaintiff and defendant present their cases to you and the other members of the jury and the courtroom, you will want to take notes (try and stick to the FACTS of the case) on the provided notepad each jury member receives.
Your duty as a member of the jury is to review the facts of the case and, with the other members of the jury, render a verdict for guilty or not guilty.
If you have any questions about jury duty or jury duty exemptions we invite you to contact our criminal defense lawyers in Springfield at your earliest convenience. If you have missed jury duty, without being legally excused from the jury, contact our law office today.