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Who qualifies to serve as a Juror?
Florida Statute 40.01
states in part that any person who is 18 years of age or older, a citizen of the United States and a legal resident of Hamilton County, and who has been issued a drivers license by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, or Florida State I.D., can be selected to serve as a Juror.

How are Jurors summoned for Jury Duty?
Florida Statute 40.011
states in part that Jurors shall be randomly selected by the Clerk of Circuit from a list of drivers licenses provided by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

Are there any exemtions from serving as a Juror?
Florida Statute 40.013
provides in part the following reasons a person may request to be excused from serving as a Juror.

  • Have served as a Juror in Hamilton County within the last 12 months.
  • An expectant mother or a parent or a parent that is not employed full time and has custody of a child that is under 6 years of age.
  • You are 70 years of age or older.
  • A Law Enforcement Officer.
  • Responsible for the care of a person who, because of mental illness, mental retardation, senility, physical or mental incapacity, or incapable of caring for themselves.
  • Serving as a Juror will cause a hardship or extreme inconvenience, or public necessity.

The following persons have a mandatory disqualification from jury service.

  • Any convicted felon whose civil rights have not been restored.
  • Any person presently under prosecution for any crime.

Payment for Jury Duty:
Florida Statute 40.24
provides in part that Jurors who are regularly employed and who continue to receive regular wages while serving as a Juror are not entitled to receive payment from the State for the first 3 days of jury duty. Jurors who are not regularly employed or who do not continue to receive regular wages while serving as a Juror are entitled to receive $15.00 per day for the first 3 days of jury duty. Each Juror who serves more than 3 days will be paid by the State at the rate of $30.00 per day of service over 3 days.

“Voir Dire” or examination of Jurors:
Once you are impaneled as a prospective Juror in a case, the Judge and the Lawyers will ask you some questions regarding your background. These questions are not intended to embarrass you in any way. The questions are intended to assist the lawyers in deciding which Jurors to select. A Juror may have a prejudice regarding the type of case to be tried that would make them a less desirable Juror for the case. If the Juror feels that they may not be an impartial Juror and this is not brought out in the questioning, the Juror should bring this to the attention of the Judge. The Juror may be excused if the Judge is of the opinion that Juror cannot render a fair and impartial verdict. If a Juror is excused for any reason, it is in no way a reflection on the Juror. Any Juror who is excused from jury duty at the Jurors own request is not entitled to receive any compensation.

Term of Service:
If you are scheduled to report on Monday, it is possible that your term of service will be for Monday only, or, if you are selected as a Juror, for the completion of one trial. A person who has served as a Juror is exempt from jury service for one year from the last day of service.

Types of Trials:
Cases which come before a Petit Jury are divided into two general classes, Civil and Criminal. In a civil trial, parties in dispute come into court to determine and settle their respective rights. The person who brings an action against another is the “Plaintiff” and the person against whom the action is brought is the “Defendant”. In a criminal trial, the persons bringing the action are the people of the State of Florida, represented by the “Prosecutor”. The “Defendant” is a person or corporate entity accused of violating the laws of Florida.

Important things to remember during the trial:
After you are sworn as a Juror in the case, there are some rules of conduct you should observe.

  • Do not be late for Court. The trial cannot proceed until all Jurors are present.
  • Sit in the same seat in the jury box. This allows the Clerk, Judge and Lawyers to identify you more easily.
  • Listen carefully. It is important that you hear every question asked and every answer given since your verdict will be based on the evidence given. If you do not understand any portion of the trial, ask the Judge to have it explained.
  • Do not talk about the case. You should not talk to anyone about the case. This includes the Judge, Lawyers, Clerk, Bailiff, or even another Juror unless you have retired to the jury room for deliberation. If anyone tries to talk to you about the case or attempts to influence you as a Juror, you should report it to the Baliff  immediately.

Persons with disabilities:
If you are a person with a disability who needs any accommodation in order to participate in jury service, you are entitled , at no cost to you, to the provision of certain assistance. Please contact Court Administration ADA Coordinator at room 205, Columbia County Court House, P.O. Box 1569, Lake City, Florida 32056,
(386) 719-7428 within 2 working days of your receipt of the Jury Summons.

If you are Hearing Impaired Call 1-800-955-8771 for assistance.
If you are Voice Impaired Call 1-800-955-8770 for assistance.

The right to a trial by jury is one of the principles guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. It is the duty of every citizen to serve when called for Jury Duty.

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