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Frequently Asked Questions -- Jury Service (Part 2)

What hours will I serve?

The first day of your jury service you should report to the Jury Office of the courthouse by 8:30 a.m. At that time, you will be given further instructions. If seated on a jury you will receive instructions from the presiding judge as to the hours he or she conducts court. Normal business hours for the Oakland County Circuit Court are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Prospective jurors should make arrangements to remain the entire day. Jurors are given a lunch period from approximately noon to 1:30 p.m. If seated on a case, jurors are usually given a short morning and afternoon break. Court hours vary, but there are no evening or weekend sessions. Jurors are not sequestered (kept overnight).
 

Is it possible that I might report for jury service but not sit on a jury?

Yes. The parties in a case generally seek to settle their differences and avoid the time and expense of a trial. Sometimes the case is settled just moments before it is scheduled to begin. So, even though several cases are scheduled for a day, the court doesn't know until that morning how many will actually go to trial. Your time spent waiting is not wasted -- your very presence in the courthouse encourages settlement.

What are the different types of cases?

There are two basic types of cases, criminal and civil.

Criminal Case:
A criminal case results when a person is accused of committing a crime. You, as a juror, must decide whether the person charged is guilty or not guilty. The accused person is presumed innocent, and the People of the State of Michigan, represented by a prosecutor, must prove guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt." The verdict must be 12-0 (unanimous).

Civil Case:
A civil case results from a disagreement or dispute between two or more parties. In a civil case, you, as a juror, must answer questions of disputed facts based upon the testimony and evidence admitted by the judge. The answers to these questions are called the verdict. In civil cases, 5 out of 6 must agree on the verdict.
 

What about my job?

Your employer can't fire, demote, or otherwise penalize you for missing work while performing jury service. Many employers will continue to pay your salary while you are in jury service. Contact your employer to find out what the policy is at your place of employment.

Will I receive proof of my jury service for my employer?

Proof of jury service is available each day upon request. 

How am I compensated?

For the first day of service, you will be paid $12.50 for a half day and $25.00 for a full day. For additional days, you will be paid $20.00 for a half day and $40.00 for a full day. You will also be paid round trip mileage of 10 cents per mile, computed from your zip code. This amount is set by the state legislature and is considered reimbursement for your travel and other expenses. Checks are printed weekly and are mailed to you. 

What Is the Dress Code?

Your appearance as a juror reflects the seriousness of the proceedings. The dress code is : No shorts, halter tops, tank tops, sweat suits, camouflage garments, swimsuits, swim trunks, or exercise garb are permitted in the courtroom.  Hats, caps and hoods must be removed in the courtroom. 

How will I know what to expect and what to do during my jury service?

The court also provides an orientation program for jurors to inform and educate them about jury service and the trial process. You will also learn about your role as a juror and what you should and should not do while in the courthouse and serving on a jury.

What if an unexpected emergency keeps me from coming to the courthouse while I'm on a jury?

It is very important that all jurors report each day they are told to report and that they be on time. Your absence may delay a trial. If you have an emergency (such as a sudden illness or a death in the family), call the court immediately.

Is there anything I can do to make my jury service more comfortable, convenient, and enjoyable?

Certainly! While efforts are made to reduce delay and avoid waiting time, you may spend time waiting at the courthouse before you find out whether you have been chosen to actually sit on a jury. So bring a book or other quiet activity or get to know your fellow jurors. Televisions, pay phones and vending machines are located in the jury assembly room. Wireless Internet, electrical outlets and desks are also available for laptop computers.  Remember that as a juror, you are a vital part of the court system.  Part of the job of many court employees is to help make your jury service comfortable and convenient.  Don't be afraid to ask them for help.