St. Joseph County, IN
Contacting the Jury Office:
How can I reach the St. Joseph Circuit and Superior Courts' Jury Clerk?
The Jury Office is open Monday through Friday (excluding holidays) from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. During business hours, jurors may call (574) 235-9506 to speak with a staff member. The Jury Clerk's address is:St. Joseph County Courthouse 101 S. Main St. South Bend, IN 46601
Where does the Jury Clerk obtain names of prospective jurors?
The list of names used to call people for jury service is created by combining records maintained by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Indiana Department of Revenue.
I can no longer fulfill my duties as a juror. Can you remove my name from your records?
This is possible under certain circumstances, such as permanent physical or mental disability. Please call the Jury Clerk at (574) 235-9506 and staff will help you with procedures to accomplish this.
I am not a citizen of the United States, but I would still like to serve as a juror. Why can't I?
The law automatically disqualifies from jury service persons who are non-citizens, convicted felons whose civil rights have not been restored and those under 18 years of age.
Why is jury service important?
The United States Constitution guarantees all people, regardless of race, religion, sex, national origin or economic status the right to trial by an impartial jury of one's peers. In order to uphold this guarantee, we need those summoned to participate in the jury process to ensure every citizen's right to have their case decided by an impartial jury selected from a representative pool of prospective jurors.
Who is entitled to a jury trial?
Any person charged with a criminal offense or any party in a civil case has the right to a trial by jury. All parties are equal before the law and each is given the same fair and impartial treatment.
What are my duties as a juror?
Your duty as a juror is to weigh all of the evidence and testimony presented to you and to decide the outcome of the case based upon the law and the evidence. Your decision must be fair, impartial and free of any bias or prejudice. Jury service is the basis of our judicial system and is essential to the administration of justice.
How are jurors selected for a trial?
After a panel is randomly selected and reports to a courtroom, a process known as voir dire begins. During voir dire, the judge and possibly the attorneys will ask you questions to determine whether you can keep an open mind and remain fair and impartial. After you have been questioned, you will either be selected or excused for that particular case. If you are selected, you and the other selected jurors will receive instructions from the judge as to what is expected of you. If you are not selected, you may be excused for the day or sent to another courtroom with another panel.
How long does jury service last if I am selected?
Many jury trials are one day in duration. However, please be prepared to return for an additional day of court/deliberations.
Is jury service mandatory?
The United States Constitution and the Indiana State Constitution guarantees the right to trial by jury. Failure to respond to a jury summons could result in a fine and/or a finding of Contempt of Court. Most St. Joseph County residents are obligated by state law to serve as a juror unless they:
Are NOT a United States citizen;
Are NOT a resident of St. Joseph County, Indiana;
Are UNDER 18 years of age;
Are currently serving a sentence for a felony conviction.
What should I wear to jury service?
Please dress appropriately for Court. Business attire or casual business/work dress is suitable (no shorts or tank tops).
What can I bring with me to jury service?
The jury process may require a juror to wait a considerable period of time. Jurors may bring appropriate reading material with them. However, they may not bring cell phones, cameras, pagers, radios or any other electronic device.
What if I'm sick or have a doctor's appointment?
If you request to be deferred or excused from jury duty due to medical reasons, the Jury Clerk must receive a brief statement from your doctor explaining your inability to serve and specifying the duration of your illness. You may mail this information; however, please include your juror number and your signature (St. Joseph Circuit and Superior Courts Jury Clerk, St. Joseph County Courthouse, 101 S. Main St., South Bend, IN 46601). Please note there are no automatic exemptions from jury service.
May I be excused if I'm over 75 years of age?
There is no longer an automatic exemption for age. However, if you are 75 years of age or older, you may request to be excused from jury duty. In addition, if you have a medical or mental/emotional/psychiatric disability that you feel would prevent you from serving as a juror, please contact the Jury Clerk at (574) 235-9506.
Does my employer have to pay me while I serve on jury duty?
The law does not require your employer to pay you while fulfilling your juror responsibilities. However, many employers do pay and have personnel policies that specifically address jury duty. We suggest you discuss this with your employer.
Do I get paid for serving on jury duty?
The Court does pay each juror an amount specified by law. If you are seated in the jury box and a sworn member of the jury, you will receive $40.00 per day plus mileage. If, however, you report for jury duty and are subsequently excused, you will be paid $15.00 plus mileage. You will receive a check from the St. Joseph County Auditor's Office in approximately three weeks.
Does the Court pay me for parking or child care?
Unfortunately, the Court cannot pay or reimburse you for your parking or child care expenses. We urge you to park in an all day parking lot/garage and make arrangements for children and/or other dependents for full day care as well. (Please refer to Court location and parking map).
Does the Court provide lunch for jurors?
Although the Court does not provide lunch for jurors (except during jury deliberations), there will be a lunch break and jurors will have ample opportunity to dine in or carryout from many downtown restaurants.
How can my family reach me if there is an emergency at home?
In case of a family emergency, jurors can be reached by contacting the Jury Clerk at (574) 235-9506.
What happens if I don't appear for jury service?
A juror who is summoned and who willfully and without reasonable excuse fails to appear for jury service may be found by the Court to be in contempt and subject to penalties provided by law. If you fail to appear on the date summoned, contact the Jury Clerk as soon as possible at (574) 235-9506 to explain your reasons for not appearing.
How long will I have to serve as a juror?
The Circuit and Superior Courts of St. Joseph County operate on a one trial/one day system for jurors. This means that if you are not selected to serve on a jury for a trial, your period of service is completed at the end of the first day. Please note that on rare occasions, jury selection may exceed one day. If you are selected to serve on a jury, your service is completed at the conclusion of the trial. Many jury trials last only one day. However, it is not uncommon for trials to be several days in duration. After completing your juror obligations, you will not be eligible to be summoned again for a period of at least two years.