The United States Constitution’s Sixth Amendment and the Texas Constitution guarantee every citizen the right to a trial by Jury. Here are 5 things you should know about jury duty so you’re prepared if you’re summoned.
How are jurors chosen?
When a jury needs to be formed, citizens are randomly chosen and receive the summons to report for jury duty in the mail. To be a potential jury a person must:
- Be registered to vote in the county
- Hold a Texas driver’s license
- Hold a Texas identification card
Who qualifies for jury duty?
In order to serve as a juror or even be considered, each person must comply with the requirements. Some of the requirements include that citizens must be:
- At least 18 years old
- A citizen of Texas and of the county in which you’re summoned to serve
- Qualified to vote (doesn’t mean you have to be registered to vote)
- Of sound mind and moral character
- Able to read and write
Can I be exempt?
There are 9 exemptions where a person who’s summoned for jury duty doesn’t have to participate. Here are some of the most common reasons:
- Over 70 years old
- Has legal custody of a child under 10 years old and serving means leaving the child without adequate supervision
- Is a student of public or private secondary school
- Is a student enrolled and in actual attendance at an institution of higher education
What is the jury selection process?
When you receive a summons for jury duty, it’s not guaranteed that you will serve on the jury. The prosecution and defense question the potential jurors and can make challenges against any jurors they feel will be biased or aren’t appropriate for the jury; this is the jury selection process.
The jury will be filtered down to the appropriate number of people, with alternate jurors. If you’re selected as a juror, you will hear the case and will decide, with the other jurors, on the verdict (“We the jury find the defendant guilty or not guilty”).
What do I do if I know I can’t be unbiased?
It’s important that you be completely honest when answering questions during the jury selection process. Each juror must make an oath, promising to tell the truth when answering the questions.
Be honest if you feel that you cannot be unbiased or a fair juror. A common example is when parents are asked to be on the jury for a case involving the harming of a child; they would be much more likely to find someone who harmed a child as guilty.
Jury duty is a privilege granted to every citizen of the United States. Selecting a jury is one of the most important parts of the trial for a defendant and requires legal expertise. For more information on jury selection or if you need an experienced lawyer, contact the Kyle Law Firm servicing the San Marcos, New Braunfels, and Seguin, Texas areas for a free initial consultation. We are dedicated to providing you with the best legal counsel and advice.
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