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Jury Division


As of July 2012, citizens are eligible for jury service twice a year.

Jury service is an important civic and community duty. By serving on a jury, a citizen has a direct hand in the administration of justice. The right to a trial by jury had its origin in England and has been preserved by the institutions of our State and Country. Jury service is a privilege and responsibility which you should accept with pride.

The jury is responsible for correctly deciding the facts which are in dispute in a given case. Thus, a juror's duty is one of responsibility and importance.

Georgia Law requires all persons summoned for jury duty to appear for service provided they are 18 years of age or older, a citizen of the United States and a resident of Clayton County. OCGA 15-12-10 states, "If any person is duly summoned to appear as a juror at court and neglects or refuses to appear, or if any juror absents himself or herself without leave of the court, said neglect, refusal, or absence may, after notice and hearing, be punished as contempt of court."

There are very few reasons for which the law allows a person to be permanently deferred from jury duty. W hile our office understands that jury duty may be an inconvenience to you, we are obligated to abide by the law. We try to accommodate requests for deferment from jurors while, at the same time, accommodate the judges' need for a sufficient number of jurors.

EXCEPT IN EXTREME EMERGENCIES, NO DEFERMENTS ARE PERMITTED ON THE MORNING YOU ARE TO REPORT FOR JURY SERVICE.

Temporary/Permanent Deferments

If you have moved from Clayton County, you will not need to serve jury duty in Clayton County. You may complete the questionnaire that was enclosed with your summons, listing your current address, answering the question regarding residency in Clayton County, sign and date the questionnaire and mail it back to our office. If you do not have your questionnaire, you may download an affidavit and complete the portion for a Non-Resident of Clayton County. Sign and date the affidavit and have your signature notarized. The original form will need to be sent to our office.

If you have a medical condition which would prevent you from serving, our office will need documentation from your doctor. There is an affidavit that you will need to have your doctor complete. Please note: the doctor's signature must be witnessed by someone in his/her office. The affidavit allows the doctor to state their medical opinion as to whether your medical condition is permanent or temporary. Our office will comply with the doctor's medical opinion and either permanently defer you or grant you a temporary deferment.

If you are 70 years of age or older and do not wish to serve, you may request to be permanently deferred. You may download an affidavit and complete the portion for Over 70 Years of Age. Sign and date the affidavit and have your signature notarized. The original form will need to be sent to our office.

If you have vacation plans, business obligations, a doctor's appointment or some other type of conflict during the same week you are to report for jury duty, you may request a ONE-TIME DEFERMENT. Please download and complete the portion of the affidavit that pertains to your circumstance. Sign and date the affidavit and have your signature notarized. Submit the original form along with supporting documentation of your conflict to our office. ALL REQUESTS FOR TEMPORARY DEFERMENT SHOULD BE RECEIVED BY OUR OFFICE AT LEAST ONE WEEK PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED JURY DUTY. REQUESTS RECEIVED LESS THAN A WEEK PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED JURY DUTY MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED. THIS WILL BE THE ONLY DEFERMENT GRANTED TO YOU.

If you are a full-time student at a college, university, vocation school, or other post-secondary school and are enrolled and taking classes or exams during the week you have been summoned for jury duty, you may download an affidavit and complete the portion for Full-Time Student. You will need to list thenext two full weeks that you would be available to serve. This may be your Spring Break, Christmas Break, etc. Your jury service will be deferred to a later date to accommodate your school schedule, if possible. Sign and date the affidavit and have your signature notarized. ALL REQUESTS FOR TEMPORARY DEFERMENT SHOULD BE RECEIVED BY OUR OFFICE AT LEAST ONE WEEK PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED JURY DUTY. REQUESTS RECEIVED LESS THAN A WEEK PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED JURY DUTY MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED. THIS WILL BE THE ONLY DEFERMENT GRANTED TO YOU.

If you are a non-citizen of the United States, you are not eligible to serve on jury duty; however, you will need to download and complete the portion of the affidavit for Non-Citizen of United States. Sign and date the affidavit and have your signature notarized. Submit the original form along with a copy of the front of your driver's license and the front of your green card.

If you have primary, active care and custody of a child six years or age or younger, you may complete the portion of the affidavit which pertains to Primary Caregiver for Child. Sign and date the affidavit and have your signature notarized. By completing and submitting this affidavit, you will be excused until the next jury pool is created, which occurs every July 1st.

If you are the primary, unpaid care-giver of a person over the age of six years who has physical or cognitive limitations, you may download a care giver affidavit. You will need to complete the top portion of the affidavit and have your signature notarized. The physician who treats the person for whom you provide care will need to complete the bottom portion of the form and have their signature witnessed by someone in their office. By completing and submitting this affidavit, you will be excused until the next jury pool is created, which occurs every July 1st.

If you do not speak or understand English, you still are required to appear and serve on jury duty. Georgia Law does not excuse a person from jury duty based on their inability to speak or understand English.

If you are the sole proprietor of a business which will suffer an extreme hardship in your absence, you may complete the portion of an affidavit which pertains to Sole Proprietors. You will need to list two upcoming full weeks, within the next 3 months, that you would be able to serve. Your jury service will be deferred to a later date to accommodate your schedule, if possible. Sign and date the affidavit and have your signature notarized. ALL REQUESTS FOR TEMPORARY DEFERMENT SHOULD BE RECEIVED BY OUR OFFICE AT LEAST ONE WEEK PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED JURY DUTY. REQUESTS RECEIVED LESS THAN A WEEK PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED JURY DUTY MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED. THIS WILL BE THE ONLY DEFERMENT GRANTED TO YOU.

If you are a primary home study teacher in a home study program meeting the requirements as provided by law and you have no available alternative, you may complete the portion of an affidavit which pertains to Primary Home Study Teacher. You will need to list two upcoming full weeks, within the next 3 months, that you would be able to serve. Your jury service will be deferred to a later date to accommodate your schedule, if possible. Sign and date the affidavit and have your signature notarized. You will also need to submit proof of the home study program in which your child(ren) is/are enrolled as well as a copy of the school calendar. ALL REQUESTS FOR TEMPORARY DEFERMENT SHOULD BE RECEIVED BY OUR OFFICE AT LEAST ONE WEEK PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED JURY DUTY. REQUESTS RECEIVED LESS THAN A WEEK PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED JURY DUTY MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED. THIS WILL BE THE ONLY DEFERMENT GRANTED TO YOU.

If you will be engaged in work necessary to the public health, safety, or good order during your term of jury duty, you may complete the portion of an affidavit which pertains to Public Health/Safety. You will need to list two upcoming full weeks, within the next 3 months, that you would be able to serve. Your jury service will be deferred to a later date to accommodate your schedule, if possible. Sign and date the affidavit and have your signature notarized. ALL REQUESTS FOR TEMPORARY DEFERMENT SHOULD BE RECEIVED BY OUR OFFICE AT LEAST ONE WEEK PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED JURY DUTY. REQUESTS RECEIVED LESS THAN A WEEK PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED JURY DUTY MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED. THIS WILL BE THE ONLY DEFERMENT GRANTED TO YOU.

If you have been called for jury duty and you are active military or you have been temporarily relocated with your spouse who is active military, you may download an affidavit and select the portion pertaining to Active Military. Submit the signed, notarized affidavit along with a copy of the active military I.D. and a copy of the service member's orders or a written verification signed by the commanding officer. By completing and submitting this affidavit, you will be excused until the next jury pool is created, which occurs every July 1st.

If you have been convicted of a felony and your civil rights have not been restored, you are not eligible for jury service at this time. You may download an affidavit and complete the portion pertaining to Convicted Felon. Sign and date the affidavit and have your signature notarized. If you are unsure as to whether or not your civil rights have been restored, you may contact the State Board of Pardons and Paroles in the State where the crime was committed.

If you are a legislator in the General Assembly which is in session during the time for which you are called for jury duty, you may complete the portion of an affidavit which pertains to Legislators. You will need to list two upcoming full weeks, within the next 3 months, that you would be able to serve. Your jury service will be deferred to a later date to accommodate your schedule, if possible. Sign and date the affidavit and have your signature notarized. ALL REQUESTS FOR TEMPORARY DEFERMENT SHOULD BE RECEIVED BY OUR OFFICE AT LEAST ONE WEEK PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED JURY DUTY. REQUESTS RECEIVED LESS THAN A WEEK PRIOR TO YOUR SCHEDULED JURY DUTY MAY NOT BE CONSIDERED. THIS WILL BE THE ONLY DEFERMENT GRANTED TO YOU.

If you feel your religious beliefs prohibit you from serving on a case, the jury staff cannot assist you in this matter as Georgia Law does not exempt someone because of their religious beliefs.

If you do not appear for jury duty, you may be held in contempt of court. Clayton County takes jury duty seriously. Those who fail to appear may have a contempt case filed against them and be required to appear before the Chief Judge to answer for their absence. Punishments for contempt may include a fine, jail time as well as jury service as determined by the Chief Judge.

Frequency of Jury Duty

OCGA 15-12-3 states, "No person shall be compellable to serve on the grand or trial jury of the superior court or on any jury in other courts for more than four weeks in any year. No person shall be allowed to serve on the trial jury of the superior court or on any jury in other courts for more than four weeks in any one year unless he or she is actually engaged in the trial of a case when the four weeks expire, in which case he or she shall be discharged as soon as the case is decided." The majority of cases heard in the Superior and State Courts of Clayton County do not extend past the week for which you are called for jury duty. There are some trials which, because of the content of the case, may carry over to the following week; however, this is not a common occurrence.

OCGA 15-12-4(a) states, "Any person who has served as a juror at any session of the superior or state courts, shall be ineligible for duty as a juror at the next succeeding term of the court in which such person has previously served but shall be eligible to serve at the next succeeding term of court for a different level of court." Clayton County has four terms of court each year. The terms of court are February through April, May through July, August through October and November through January.

Length of Jury Duty

A Clayton County juror's length of service is generally one week. However, if you are participating in a trial and the trial is not completed by the end of the week, you will be required to report the following week until the trial is completed. You should plan to attend every week day Monday through Friday. You will be given specific instructions on a daily basis.

Compensation for Jury Service

Clayton County jurors receive an expense allowance of $25.00 each day that you are required to report to the courthouse. The County Finance Department will mail a check to you within two weeks upon completion of your jury service. The County Finance Department can be reached at (770)477-3221.

Conflict With Employer Because of Jury Duty

When a person is called for jury service, it is their responsibility to notify their employer of the summons for jury duty. It is at the employer's discretion as to whether the employee receives their normal compensation during jury service or if the employee will not be compensated while they are serving on jury. Some employers choose to compensate their employees as if they were working and then have the employee sign over the check they receive for jury service. The financial arrangement made between the employer and the employee is a private matter and one in which the court has no influence.

You will receive a certificate of service at the end of your week that you may provide to your employer. The certificate of service will list the dates for which you were required to report to the courthouse.

Georgia Law does, however, provide protection for an employee who has been called for jury service. OCGA 34-1-3 states, "(a) It shall be unlawful for any employer or the agent of such employer to discharge, discipline, or otherwise penalize an employee because the employee is absent from his or her employment for the purpose of attending a judicial proceeding in response to a subpoena, summons for jury duty, or other court order or process which requires the attendance of the employee at the judicial proceeding. It shall be unlawful for any employer or the agent of such employer to threaten to take or communicate an intention of taking any action declared to be unlawful by this subsection. (b) Any employer or agent of such employer who violates subsection (a) of this Code section shall be liable to the injured employee for all actual damages thereby suffered by the employee and for reasonable attorney's fees incurred by the employee in asserting a successful claim under this Code section. (c) This code section shall not apply to an employee who is charged with a crime, nor shall it prohibit an employer from requiring an employee to abide by regulations requiring reasonable notification to an employer of the employee's expected absence or delay in reporting to work in order to attend a judicial proceeding."

What to Wear For Jury Service

Many inquiries are received from prospective jurors as to clothing expected to be worn while serving on the jury. It is suggested that you wear attire that is appropriate for a court appearance. For men, this would include dress pants and dress shirts. For women, this would include dresses or dress slacks.

Clothing items which are NOT appropriate are shorts, bare midriff or halter tops, tank tops, overalls, uniforms or T-shirts.

What to Bring With You

When appearing for the first day of jury service, you will need to bring with you a picture I.D., such as a driver's license and your jury summons. You may bring a book or a magazine to read. Free wi-fi is available in the jury holding room so you may bring your laptop or electronic notebook. (Please note that the jury staff accepts no responsibility for any items brought by jurors.)

You may wish to bring change with you so that you may make use of the vending machines located in the jury holding room.

What to Expect

Jurors are stationed in a spacious room designed to make your jury service as comfortable as possible. The jury assembly room is furnished with a wide selection of books and magazines. The books are on loan to our office from the Clayton County Library system and available for jurors to take home with them to finish reading and may be returned to any Clayton County library. Televisions are placed in areas for those wishing to watch. Free wi-fi is available. Vending machines offering snacks, sodas, coffee and hot chocolate are located in the jury assembly room. Chick-fil-A offers limited menu items for sale on the 2 nd floor. They accept cash only, no coupons, and are open Monday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Restrooms are located within the jury assembly room.

Being summoned for jury duty can be an intimidating experience for some. Our office strives to keep jurors informed on a regular basis as to what they can expect. On your first morning of jury service, the judges will speak to the jurors and explain the importance of jury duty and the process of selecting a jury. The "do's" and "don'ts" of jury duty will be discussed. The Clerk of Superior Court will address the jurors afterwards and answer any questions you may have.

The jury staff releases jurors for lunch, for the day and for the week based upon the judges' instructions. At all times, the jury staff has to have enough jurors to accommodate the needs of the judges hearing cases. As soon as the information is received from all judges, the jury staff will relay instructions to the jurors. Although the sitting and waiting may seem unnecessary, jurors are never kept waiting needlessly. A lot of activity is going on behind the scenes between the judges, attorneys, and parties to the cases on the calendars.

For those wanting to know more about the jury selection, we have a brochure which goes into a step-by-step description of the process of a case.


 

Jacquline Wills

Clerk of Court:
Jacquline D. Wills
Harold R. Banke Justice Center
Room 1CL25
9151 Tara Boulevard
Jonesboro, Georgia 30236-4912
Phone (770) 477-3395
Email

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