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Yes. The parties involved in a case usually try to settle their differences and avoid the time and expense of a trial. Sometimes a case is settled only minutes before the trial begins. But your time spent waiting to serve is not wasted; your presence encourages settlement.
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In Shelby County, jurors are selected from the list of registered voters in the county. However, Ohio law allows for jurors to be summoned from the list of registered voters in the county or jurors may be summoned from a combined list of registered voters and licensed drivers in the county.
To serve on a jury in a particular court, you must be a resident of the geographical area served by that particular court. Ohio jurors must be at least 18 years of age, and they must not have lost their right to serve on a jury by having been convicted of certain types of crime. Beyond that, everyone is given the opportunity to be a juror regardless of age (if at least 18) and regardless of occupation. If you are 76 years of age or older, you may request to be excused from jury duty.
A grand juror decides whether a person should be placed on trial for a criminal offense. A petit juror decides if the defendant is guilty or not guilty in a criminal trial. In a civil trial, the petit jury will decide the facts which are in dispute.
You will receive a summons in the mail telling you the exact date and time to report.
You may be selected for a term of four months. Usually, a juror is only called one time during the term. The average trial length is two to three days. Some jury trials last longer.
The type of case determines the number of jurors who must agree on a verdict. A civil case is usually between two or more persons, companies or corporations who have a dispute concerning money or property. In a civil case, the jurors must decide if and/or how to compensate the plaintiff for any damages. In civil cases, six jurors (three-fourths of the eight jurors) must agree on a verdict. In a criminal case, twelve jurors determine if an accused person is guilty or not guilty of a charge, and the verdict must be unanimous.
To be eligible to serve in Shelby County, you must reside in Shelby County. If you have moved from Shelby County, complete an application to be excused from jury duty and submit it to the Clerk of Courts. 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 Shelby County.
We apologize for any undue hardship this has caused. Please complete an application to be excused from jury duty for the deceased person and submit it to the Clerk of Courts. 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 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.
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.
Pick up and complete a juror's excuse form from the Clerk of Court's office, located on the third floor of the courthouse. If you have a physician's medical excuse, bring that with you to attach to the excuse form. Generally, work or employment is not sufficient to get excused. The judge will review your request and you will be notified of his decision.
Depending on the circumstances, the judge may allow you to serve later in the year.