To answer your question directly, yes. Your jury summons is an official court order. If anyone fails to report for jury duty without a lawful excuse from the court, they may be brought before the court for possible contempt of court proceedings. If found in contempt by the judge, the court may impose a fine and/or other punishment as provided by Ohio law.
Indirectly, let us say this. Without jurors, the jury system cannot work the way the authors of the Constitution of the United States wanted it to. We realize the sacrifice that we are asking you to make. We also understand that you may be apprehensive about being called to serve. However, the overwhelming majority of people who serve find the experience to be highly rewarding.
When asked, most people say they wouldn’t mind to do it again sometime in the future. Jury duty for most people will mean a substantial, though temporary, change to your everyday life, rearranging schedules and missing work. But if you were ever involved in a dispute or charged with a criminal offense, wouldn’t you want someone just like you to make those same sacrifices in order to be a part of your jury?
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After all the jurors have been checked in, you will go through our juror orientation program. Our juror orientation video is viewed and the Jury Managers will go over many other areas of concern. Also included in the orientation is a visit by the Duty Judge, welcoming the new jury pool to their service. The entire orientation will last about 1 hour. After orientation, we can start assigning new jurors to courtroom service.
Work Verifications/Proof of Service Reports will be provided for you at the completion of your service. We do not keep track of the actual hours you spend in court, only the number of days that you report. Your employment is protected by law while you are serving as a juror. If you have any problems with your employer in connection with your jury service, please notify the Jury Commission immediately.
Normal business hours for the court are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If you are in the jury pool, your report time will be 9 a.m. everyday and you will need to remain in the jury assembly room until released for the day by the Jury Managers. You will be released for lunch from Noon to 1:30 p.m.
Release times each day will vary, but usually fall between 2 and 4 p.m. If you are seated as a sworn juror, the judge on your case will tell you what time to report each day. Please expect to be here until 5 p.m. when actually seated on a jury.
The drawing of prospective jurors each year is a completely random process. There really isn’t a good explanation of why some people are called more than once when others haven’t been called at all. You may be interested to know that 90% of the people who report for jury duty have never served before!
You should treat the summons as you would any other piece of mail that does not belong to you. Simply write "Not at This Address - Return to Sender" on the outside of the summons and put it back in the mail. We will process it as an undelivered summons.
We apologize for any undue hardship this has caused. Please mark the outside of the summons "Deceased" and return it to our office. We will be sure to take the name out of our system. You should also contact the Board of Elections to make sure they have been notified that the family member is deceased. Otherwise, the name will remain on their records, allowing us to have access to it each year when new jurors are pulled.
The General Division of the Common Pleas Court hears cases that are criminal and civil in nature. Criminal cases in the Court of Common Pleas are on a felony-level and punishable by a sentence of six months or more in a state penal institution. Civil cases filed in this court involve civil disputes exclusive of probate or family law matters. Examples of civil cases include personal injury claims, medical malpractice, and contract disputes.
Your name was obtained from the list of registered voters in Franklin County, which was provided by the Board of Elections. The drawing of prospective jurors is performed according to statutory guidelines, which assure a random selection of a fair cross-section of the community.
Being a registered voter is not a pre-requisite to serving. Your voting record (how you voted or voting frequency) has nothing to do with your ability to be selected. It is only the source list that is used to obtain jurors’ names.
You do not need any special skills, training, or legal knowledge to be a juror. You do need to be able to listen carefully, follow instructions, keep an open mind, and be willing to make a decision free from personal feelings or biases. As a juror, you will be responsible for impartially evaluating all the facts that are presented to you during the trial and, as the judge instructs, apply the law as it is written to the facts of the case.
First, don’t panic! Second, please take the time to read it! A common mistake many people make is simply not reading through the summons. Much time and preparation went into the design of our summons.
Some of your initial questions and concerns will be easily addressed through the information contained in the jury summons itself. It will explain briefly:
If after reading through the summons and/or our website and you still have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call us at 614.525.3450. We will be glad to assist you in any way we can.
We wish it were that easy! State law and local rules require that all prospective jurors be selected at random from the source list that is used.
Unfortunately yes. Although there is a slight chance that you will never get called for a case, there is a possibility that you will not be seated as a sworn juror. It is our hope that every juror will at least have the opportunity to go through the jury selection process.
Also, you may experience a situation where you are called to sit as a prospective juror and the case resolves just moments before the trial begins. If this should happen to you, please do not feel as if your time has been wasted. Your presence alone encourages resolution.
Our court does not utilize a call-in system so you will have to spend some time waiting in the Jury Assembly Room before being seated on a jury panel. Bring whatever you need to help pass the time. You may have cell phones and pagers in the jury assembly room but these devices must be turned off or set to vibrate while you are in the courtroom. Laptop computers are permitted and we do have wireless internet in both jury assembly rooms.
We will do what we can to help pass the time! We have available:
We have a TV in the jury assembly room and also show movies Tuesday through Thursday. DVDs may also be checked out for personal viewing on laptops or portable DVD players.
Absolutely. Our number is 614.525.3450. You may leave this number with family, school, childcare providers, etc, in the event that an emergency should arise during your service.
If in the jury assembly room, you will be paged to take your call at the front desk. If you are in trial, we will get a message to you in the courtroom in the event of an emergency only. All messages that are not of an urgent nature are placed on a special message board in the jury office.
To be eligible to serve in Franklin County, you must reside in Franklin County. If you have moved from Franklin County, please respond to your summons using our eResponse website. Simply follow the instructions under requesting disqualification from serving. In the meantime, you may want to contact the Board of Elections to make sure they know that you have moved outside the county. Otherwise, you could continue to be called for service in Franklin County.