Jury Service Information
Jury Service Information
Jurors perform a vital role in the American system of justice. Our system of justice does not work without citizens who are willing to act as jurors. The Judge and the jury must each fulfill their individual role for the justice system to work. The Judge determines the law to be applied in the case while the jury decides the facts. Thus, in a very important way, jurors become a part of the Court itself.
Any inconvenience and financial sacrifice that might be made to render public service as a juror are greatly appreciated by the Judges, the lawyers and your fellow citizens. It is a strong act of citizenship akin to serving in the military and voting.
The reward for a juror's service lies in the awareness that he or she has performed a high duty of citizenship, and in the realization that he or she has aided in the maintenance of law, order, and in the administration of justice among his or her fellow citizens.
Efficient jurors are men and women of sound judgment, absolute honesty, and a sense of fairness. The juror aids in the maintenance of law and order and upholds justice among the citizenry. His or her greatest reward is the knowledge that he or she has discharged the duty faithfully, honorably, and well. In addition to determining and adjusting property rights, jurors may also be asked to decide whether a person is or is not guilty of a crime. In a very real sense, we rely upon jurors for the protection of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Any juror should realize a quiet sense of importance and pride from his or her service. He or she should decide the facts and apply the law impartially, treat alike the rich and the poor, men and women, corporations and individuals. He or she should render justice without any regard to race, color, or creed.
There is no legal requirement that employers must pay you while you are on jury service. Please ask your employer what the company policy is with regard to compensation for jury service. Some employers ask that you supply proof as to the length of your jury service. Court Administration will provide you with a jury service form which verifies your service as a juror at the conclusion of all trials in which you act as a juror.
Parking for jury duty is provided in any of the Municipal Building parking lots. The largest lot is located to the rear of the Municipal Building (this lot is bordered by Oak Street, South 7th Street, and Elm Street). Also, three other lots are available at the following locations: 1) toward the rear of the building bordered by Oak Street, and South 7th Street - this lot is on the opposite side of Oak Street from the "main" lot described above; 2) on South 8th Street (located next to the Synagogue) 3) approximately 100 yards EAST of the corner of Oak and South 7th Street is a smaller lot with approximately twelve parking spaces. Also, LIMITED on street parking is available on most days. Please DO NOT use on street parking for South 8th Street in front of the Municipal Building as it is restricted to one hour. Please be aware, if using on street parking, of any parking restrictions that are in place.
Upon entering the Municipal Building (Courthouse), jurors may proceed to the elevators or stairs. Take the elevator or stairs to the third floor. If using the elevator, turn left and proceed past the jury service barrier where you will be greeted and initially checked in for jury duty in Room 306. If you are using the stairs, upon reaching the third floor, proceed to the public elevators and follow the same instructions noted above. Click here to see a Parking Map.
All jurors are required to go through a metal detector. In order to ease this process, jurors should NOT bring the following items: weapons of any type, including firearms, chemical sprays such as "mace" or pepper spray, pocket knives, knitting/sewing needles, and scissors. Jurors should also not bring newspapers nor any recording devices. Cellular phones, pagers and other communication devices should not be brought in the building during jury service. Please leave all such devices in your car or at home. Jurors may bring laptop/notebook computers, books or suitable magazines, but such items are not permitted in the courtrooms.
There is typically one 15 minute mid-morning, and one 15 minute mid-afternoon break. Also, the Judge will typically break for lunch at approximately 12:00 noon for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. There are several nearby restaurants that the jury attendants will be glad to point out to you.
Juror orientation generally takes place in Room 306 (see Directions for Parking and Entering the Municipal Building (Courthouse). Jury attendants and Court Administration staff will take juror names, distribute copies of juror questionnaires, provide a "juror" sticker to be prominently placed by the juror on his or her clothing, and distribute a three page Jury Information and Questionnaire form. After all jurors are checked in, instructions will be provided (via an informal instruction and question and answer format lasting approximately 30-45 minutes). The focus of the discussion will be the materials mailed to jurors explaining jury service. Orientation is concluded after members of the District Court Administration Office finish answering any questions raised by the jurors.
A number of people are in the courtroom that play a part in the proceeding.
The JUDGE presides from the elevated bench. Just as you have been chosen to decide the facts, he or she is the person who was elected by the citizens of Lebanon County to decide the law. He or she conducts the trial, makes legal decisions and explains the law to you.
A DEPUTY PROTHONOTARY or DEPUTY CLERK OF COURT sits at a desk near the Judge and handles the papers and exhibits for the Court, calls out the names when a jury is impaneled (chosen to try a case) and administers the oath to witnesses.
The LAWYERS represent the people whose cases you will have to decide. In each case, each of them will make opening and closing speeches to you, examine and cross-examine witnesses and, when necessary, request a decision from the Judge on interpretations of the law.
The OFFICIAL COURT REPORTER sits beside the witness stand recording the testimony of the witnesses.
The PLAINTIFF is the party who brings a civil lawsuit. There may be several plaintiffs in the same suit. The plaintiff and his or her lawyer sit at the table nearest the jury. In a criminal case the PROSECUTOR, the party who brings the charge, frequently a police officer, and a DISTRICT ATTORNEY, the lawyer for the prosecution, sit at the table nearer the jury.
The DEFENDANT or DEFENDANTS are the parties being sued or, in a criminal case, the person charged with a crime.
The COURT ATTENDANTS or TIPSTAFFS are positioned in the front and rear of the Courtroom and are available to assist the Judge and the Jurors.
The remaining persons in the courtroom may be witnesses waiting to be heard in a case, litigants, or spectators. Under our legal system, the Courts are open to the public so that citizens may see the justice system.
When the parties and their lawyers are in the Courtroom, a panel of jurors is called by randomly drawing names. From this group of jurors, twelve will be selected to try the case. Also, at least two alternate jurors, in addition to the twelve, will be chosen. Should any juror(s) become ill during the trial an alternate juror will be asked to join the remaining eleven jurors in deciding the case. During voir dire jurors are questioned about their qualifications to sit as jurors in the case. This questioning is conducted by the Judge and the Lawyers. Of course, because the answers provided by jurors are made while under oath, it is important to be candid and truthful.
The voir dire examination opens with a short statement about the case. The purpose is to inform the jurors of what the case is about and to identify the parties and their lawyers. Questions are then asked to find out whether anyone on the panel has any personal interest in the case or knows of any reason why he or she cannot be a fair and impartial juror. The Court also wants to know whether any member of the panel is related or personally acquainted with the parties. Other questions will determine whether any panel member has a prejudice or feeling that might influence him or her.
If you have a problem hearing or remembering the testimony of witnesses, or if you have trouble seeing the participants on the witness stand from the jury box, you should point this out to the trial attorneys and/or the Judge to determine whether you should be excused.
Parties on either side may ask that a member of the panel be excused. These requests, or demands, are called challenges. A juror must not take offense if they are excused. It is not a reflection upon his or her intelligence, ability or integrity.
The following stages of a trial usually occur in jury cases (The Judge will give detailed instructions which must be followed by each juror. The information supplied is only a guide. Jurors are bound to follow only the instructions of the Court as supplied by the trial Judge):
- Selection of a jury and juror's oath.
- The opening statements of the lawyers. Sometimes the opening statements are omitted.
- In a criminal case, the Commonwealth (District Attorney) or the plaintiff (civil case) calls witnesses and presents evidence to attempt to support his or her case.
- The defendant may call witnesses and produce evidence.
- Arguments may be made by the lawyers for each side.
- The Judge will instruct the jury in each separate case as to the law of the case. Jurors must follow these instructions of law given to them by the Judge in each particular case.
- The jury then retires to the jury deliberation room to arrive at a verdict.
Jury Service Forms
*Forms can now be submitted electronically, follow these steps:
1. Click on the form you want to complete.
2. Fill in your information.
3. Jurors are not required to add a digital signature to any forms provided.
4. Save the form to your PC.
5. Attach the form to a new email message.
6. Send to email@example.com and use the name of the form for the subject line of the email.
*If you have any problems attempting to type into the forms, be sure you have the latest version of Adobe Reader.