A trial by jury is a fundamental right of every person in the United States and is a very important part of the Constitution. While jury duty is not always convenient and can cause a hardship, jury duty is still the duty and responsibility of every qualified citizen of this country to serve when called.
You do not need any knowledge of the legal system to be a juror. The duty of the jury is very important. The jury’s duty is first to decide the disputed issues of fact, and then to reach and return a true verdict that is based solely and exclusively on the evidence, testimony and law that is presented during the trial.
Jurors are randomly selected from a list of all licensed drivers and persons who possess a Florida Identification Card who are eighteen years old and older and reside in Escambia County. The State of Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides this list to the Clerk quarterly
Plan on the entire day for your jury service. Jury service in the State of Florida is for one day or the length of one trial. Some trials exceed one day. There is not a specific time of day that the courts conclude.
Most juries are selected on the initial reporting day. Some trials will begin and conclude on the same day. However, not all trials will finish or start on the same day. The length of the trial will be discussed during the selection process. If you find that the length of the trial conflicts with a personal schedule, you may be given the opportunity to explain this to the Judge during the jury selection process.
Reporting for jury service, even if not selected to sit on a jury, will count as completing your duty for jury service for the year.
Court cases may resolve between the time your Summons was mailed and the time you are scheduled to report. Please call the REPORTING INFORMATION telephone number on the front of your jury summons after 5PM the evening BEFORE your report date. (This includes Sundays and legal holidays.) When you call, you will receive a RECORDED MESSAGE. Follow the directions on the message. You will need to know your juror number before you call. Your juror number is located on the front of your jury summons. You will be informed by this recording if you are still required to report.
24x7 AUTOMATED JUROR MESSAGE AVAILABLE
How can I be excused from Jury Duty?
All requests for excusal must be submitted in writing. Excusal is granted unless otherwise notified. You will be contacted only if there are questions about your request or if your request is not accepted. Request for excusal due to personal, business, or medical reasons must be submitted in writing.
What are the qualifications to be a Juror?
You must be a U.S. citizen at least 18 years of age,
a legal resident of this state and county, and possess a driver's license or identification card issued by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. If you do not possess a driver's license, you may execute an affidavit, which may be obtained by calling the Clerk's Jury Management Office, or by visiting the Jury Management Office located in the M.C. Blanchard Judicial Building.
How are Jurors summoned?
Names are randomly selected from the list of names supplied quarterly by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. An average of 700 jurors are summoned each week in Escambia County.
What are the exemptions and disqualifications from Jury Duty
You may be excused for the following reasons:
- You have served as a juror in Escambia County within the past 12 months.
- You are an expectant mother or a parent who is not employed full-time and have custody of a child under six years of age.
- You are 70 years of age or older.
- You are a fulltime federal, state, or local law enforcement officer or investigative personnel for these entities.
- You care for persons who, because of mental illness, mental retardation, senility, or physical or mental incapacity, are incapable of caring for themselves.
- You are a practicing attorney or physician, or have a physical infirmity.
You may be excused from Jury Duty for the following reasons:
- You are currently under prosecution for any crime.
- You are a convicted felon and have not had your civil rights restored.
- You serve as the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, a Cabinet officer, clerk of court, or judge.
Will I get paid for Jury Duty?
Jurors who are regularly employed and receive regular wages during jury duty are not entitled to compensation for the first three days of jury service. Jurors who are not regularly employed or who do not receive regular wages during jury duty are entitled to $15.00 per day for the first three days of jury service. Jurors who serve more than three days will be paid by the State for the fourth and subsequent days of service at the rate of $30.00 per day.
Are Jurors examined?
When jurors are called to a panel for a particular case, the judge and the attorneys will ask questions regarding jurors' backgrounds. This process is called "voir dire," which means "to speak the truth." These questions are not meant to embarrass. Instead, they are designed to ensure that members of the jury have no opinions or past experiences that might prevent them from making an impartial decision. Excusals from jury service should not be taken personally. When jurors are excused, it means only that there are proper and lawful reasons for the excusals.
How long must I serve on Jury Duty?
The first day of service is normally limited to jury selection for trials held during the following week. Jurors selected to serve cases will be asked to return and serve on the dates of that trial. Most trials last one day.
What are Petit and Grand Juries?
A petit jury will hear and decide civil and criminal cases.
Civil cases are disputes between private citizens, corporations, governments, government agencies, or other organizations. Usually, the party who brings the suit is seeking money damages for an alleged wrong that has been done. The party who brings the suit is called the plaintiff, and the one being sued is called the defendant. Civil trials can involve small claims, personal injury, and medical malpractice cases.
Criminal cases are brought by the state against persons accused of committing a crime. In these cases, the state is the plaintiff, and the accused person is the defendant. Criminal trials can involve traffic, misdemeanor, felony, and capital (death penalty) cases.
A grand jury has broad powers to investigate a wide range of criminal offenses and to examine the performance of public officials and public institutions. Its deliberations are conducted in secret, in conjunction with the State Attorney or a designated assistant state attorney.
Where do Jurors park?
All jurors are encouraged to park across the street from the Pensacola Bay Center, under the interstate ramp, on the corner of Alcaniz and Gregory Streets (map). Trolleys or a bus will provide free transportation to and from the MC Blanchard Judicial Building.
Can I call to find out if I have to serve for Jury Duty?
The Clerk's office has a recorded telephone message that provides jurors with general information about jury service. Please call 595-4356 weekdays to receive this general message. Court cases often settle between the time summonses are mailed and juries are scheduled to report. Therefore, all jurors must call 595-4356 to verify if their attendance will be necessary. Due to the fact that most court weeks begin on Monday, the recorded message is activated from 5:00 P.M. on the Friday before the scheduled report date and continues through the weekend. IF YOU RECEIVE NO MESSAGE OR IF THE TELEPHONE RECORDING IS NOT IN OPERATION, PLEASE REPORT FOR JURY DUTY AS DIRECTED BY YOUR PRINTED SUMMONS.
Americans with Disabilities Act Notice
In accordance with
the AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT, persons with a disability needing a special
accommodation to participate in this proceeding contact Shelia Sims within 2
working days of your receipt of the Jury Summons. Telephone (850)
595-4400. If you are hearing or voice impaired, call 711.
Important Things to Remember During the Trial
Jurors should observe the following general rules of conduct:
- Be on time 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, you should ask the judge to explain.
- Do not talk about the case. You should not talk with anyone about the case. This includes the clerk, lawyers, judge, bailiff, and other jurors, unless you have retired to the jury room for deliberations. If anyone tries to talk to you about the case or attempts to influence you as a juror, you should report it to the judge immediately.
Can I be rescheduled?
If the date you have been summoned for creates a conflict in your schedule, you may request to be rescheduled to a future date ONE TIME.
What if I fail to report for jury duty?
In the State of Florida, Jury Duty is governed under Chapter 40 of the Florida Statutes. Within this chapter are penalties for those who do not report for jury service. “Any person who is duly summoned to attend as a juror in any court and who fails to attend without any sufficient excuse shall pay a fine not to exceed $100, which fine shall be imposed by the court to which the juror was summoned, and, in addition, such failure may be considered a contempt of court.”