Frequently Asked Questions - Jury Service
Oakland County, MichiganCourtsCircuit CourtFrequently Asked Questions - Jury Service

Frequently Asked Questions - Jury Service

 Frequently Asked Questions

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Why is jury service important?,

The U.S. Constitution guarantees all people, regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin, or economic status, the right to trial by an impartial jury. Justice ultimately depends to a large measure upon the quality of the jurors who serve in our courts. That is why you are important.

What is my duty as a juror?,

As a juror, you must be fair and impartial. Your actions and decisions must be free of any bias or prejudice. Your actions and decisions are the foundation of our judicial system.

What are the eligibility requirements to serve as a juror?
  • Be a citizen of the United States.
  • Be a resident of Oakland County.
  • Be 18 years or older.
  • Be conversant with the English language.
  • Be physically and mentally able to carry out the functions of a juror. Temporary inability shall not be considered a disqualification.
  • Not have been paid as a juror, in a court of record, during the preceding 12 months.
  • Never have been convicted of a felony.
A person 70 years of age or older may claim exemption from jury service and shall be exempt upon making the request.
All other persons are expected to be available to serve and should follow the Reporting Instructions on their summons. 
How was I selected for jury service?,

Potential jurors are selected randomly from the State of Michigan Driver's License list or Personal Identification Cardholder list for individuals residing in Oakland County. The selection method is designed to produce a cross section of the community. Men and women over 18 years of age and from all walks of life have an equal opportunity to be called for jury service.

How much notice will I be given that I am to appear for jury service?,

The Juror Summons/Questionnaire for jury service is mailed to jurors approximately one month before they are to appear for jury selection.

Do I have to respond to the summons to jury service?,

Yes. The summons to appear for jury service is an official court summons. If you do not respond, you could be held in contempt of court!

How soon must I return the juror questionnaire?,

Jurors must return the questionnaire within 10 days of receipt.

What if I no longer live in Oakland County?,

If you no longer live in Oakland County, please write your new address in the space provided on the back of the questionnaire, answer question number one (1), and return the questionnaire to the Jury Office with a copy of your updated Driver's License or State ID.  You may verify your status through our automated juror information system, by calling 248-294-1063, and following the prompts.  You will need your ten-digit candidate number; which is located in the upper right hand corner of your summons.

I received a questionnaire for my spouse or relative who is deceased. What should I do?,

The questionnaire should be returned with "DECEASED" written next to the person's name, along with the deceased date.  Once we verify this information, he or she will be removed from our list.

Can jury service be rescheduled?,
Jurors may be allowed one deferral of their jury service.  To request a deferral, you may access the automated system by calling 248-294-1063 and following the prompts.  You will need your ten-digit candidate number; which is located in the upper right hand corner of your summons.  You may defer for up to three months.  Only Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday dates may be selected.  If there are extenuating circumstances and you will not be available for a longer period, you must call the above number and speak directly to a clerk.  You may also make a request accessing the online questionnaire by using the Internet Explorer as the Web browser at www.oakgov.com/jury.
 
If you are a college student, you may request to be deferred to a date either during breaks between semesters or the summer months.  It is important to take into consideration your class schedule, as only one deferral will be granted.  If your jury service is deferred you will receive a new Juror Summons/Questionnaire for the new date.  It is not necessary to return the questionnaire for the original date.
Can a parent complete a questionnaire for a son or daughter who is away at college?,

Your son or daughter may complete their questionnaire on line by visiting oakgov.com/Jury.

What if I have a medical condition that would prevent me from serving jury duty?,

In order to be excused for medical reasons you must complete question number seven (7) of the questionnaire and return it to the Jury Office with a doctor's note. Your request for excusal will not be considered without a doctor's note.  You may verify your status through our automated juror information system, by calling 248-294-1063, and following the prompts.  You will need your ten-digit candidate number; which is located in the upper right hand corner of your summons.

What if I am a nursing mother?,

If you are requesting excusal because you are a nursing mother, you must provide documentation from a doctor, lactation consultant, or certified nurse midwife.

How will I know if I am to report for jury service?,

You must call 248-294-1063 after 5:00 p.m. the day before your appearance date. You may also opt to receive communications via email or text.  For a Monday appearance date, you must call after 5:00 p.m. on Friday or any time throughout the weekend.  A recorded message will instruct you by candidate number and confirm your reporting date and time.

Where do I report for jury service?,

Jurors must report to the Jury Office, located on the first floor of the Oakland County Courthouse, 1200 North Telegraph Road, Pontiac, Michigan. Juror hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mondays through Friday unless otherwise informed by court personnel.

How long am I on call for jury service?,

The term of service is one trial. If you are not selected to serve as a juror by the end of the first day and you are not ordered to return for the second day of jury selection, your service is complete.  If you are seated on a case you will serve as long as the case lasts.  The average criminal case lasts 3 days.  The average civil case lasts 4 days.  However, some cases start and finish in one day.

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 and Probate 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. A cafeteria is located in the basement of the courthouse.  Jurors are also allowed to leave the courthouse during their lunch break, with several local restaurants conveniently located near the County Complex.  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 address. 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.  Law Enforcement and First Responders are NOT permitted to wear uniforms when reporting for jury service.

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 Judge's office that you were assigned as a seated juror.

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.  Televisions 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.