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Jury Duty FAQs

Q: I have a medical problem and I don't feel that I would be able to serve.

To be excused from jury duty for a medical reason, a letter must be submitted from your physician stating that you are unable to serve. This letter should be returned with your questionnaire no later than three weeks before your assigned week of service. These letters are forwarded to the presiding judge for consideration and you will receive verification if you are excused.

If you are permanently disabled, please be certain that your physician includes that information when writing your letter. If your physician does not specify a permanent condition your name may be drawn again the following year.

If you do not return your physician's note with your original questionnaire due to time considerations you are welcome to submit it via e-mail Jury or fax to (269) 982-8643.

Q: I don't hear well and I am afraid I will miss significant testimony

Individuals with hearing problems should participate in the jury selection so that they can hear the acoustics in the courtroom. If they cannot hear properly at that time they should advise the judge or bailiff and they will be excused

Q: What about work?

By law, and employer cannot fire, discipline or threaten such action against an employee who is summoned for jury duty or chosen to serve on a jury, even for a long trial. Nor can employers force a worker to go beyond normal hours to make up for time spent on jury service. An employer who takes these actions could be guilty of a misdemeanor or held in contempt of court.

600.1348 Jurors; threats, discharge, or discipline by employer; requiring additional hours of work; misdemeanor; penalty.

Sec. 1348.

(1) An employer or the employer's agent, who threatens to discharge or discipline or who discharges, disciplines, or causes to be discharged from employment or to be disciplined a person because that person is summoned for jury duty, serves on a jury, or has served on a jury, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and may also be punished for contempt of court.

Q: I am a college student, do I still have to serve and miss classes?

If you are a college student, please provide verification that you will be in school during the time you are on call for jury duty. With verification, your jury service could be changed to a month when you are available.

Q: I am a nursing mother. Do I have to serve?

If the child is not taking any supplemental feedings, a letter must be submitted by the pediatrician for you to be excused. If you do not return your physician's note with your original questionnaire due to time considerations you are welcome to submit it via e-mail to Jury Clerk or fax to (269) 982-8643.

Q: I have small children and don't have a sitter. Do you provide daycare?

Day care services are not available at the courthouse. Jurors are notified several weeks in advance of their week of jury service and this should give you ample time to locate a sitter or a daycare center who you are comfortable with.

Q: What does it pay?

Under Michigan law, jurors are paid as follows:

First Half Day $12.50
First Full Day $25.00
Subsequent Half Days $20.00
Subsequent Full Days $40.00

Jurors also receive mileage for their trips to and from court. Prospective jurors who are not selected to sit on a trial are still paid for their participation.

Q: What if I don't show up?

You can be held in contempt of court, fined or even jailed.

Q: Are there exemptions?

People over 70 may be exempted from service if they choose to do so.

You may be called for jury duty more than once, but you may only serve as a seated juror once per year. If you have served as a juror in a court outside of Berrien County and wish to claim this exemption we will require documentation to excuse you.

Q: I was convicted of a felony, can I still serve?

No, you may not serve. Complete your questionnaire accordingly. If you have been convicted in Berrien County, jury staff will search our records to verify conviction. If you were convicted in another county or state we require proof of sentencing to be forwarded for consideration. If you do not return your documentation along with your original questionnaire due to time considerations you are welcome to submit it via e-mail to Jury Clerk or fax to (269) 982-8643.

Q: I served less than one year ago.

Jurors who have served less than 12 months ago are not required to serve. While we have procedures in place ensuring that jurors are not called twice in a 12-month period, people occasionally slip through because of name or identification number changes. If you served outside of Berrien County (In a state, federal, or other County's court) we require documentation to excuse you.

Q: I am called every year and I know people who have never been called.

Juror information is provided to us by the Secretary of State Office in Lansing. These names are taken from the driver's license and state ID card listing which the Secretary of State's Office maintains. Names are then randomly selected by computer system.

Q: I live in another state during the winter months and I won't be in Michigan during any of the months in my quarter.

Please advise which months you will be available to serve.

 

 
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