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Jury Duty Information

You have received a summons to serve as a juror at the 47th District Court and almost immediately you have questions.

How was I selected?
What can I expect?
How long will it take?
I have a vacation scheduled that month; can I get rescheduled to another time?
Will it affect my job?
What if I’ve moved? Do I still have to serve?
How do I get to the 47th District Court?

These and other questions are natural responses to receiving a summons for jury duty.  This information section has been designed to answer these questions and others and hopefully make you look forward to your upcoming experience as a juror.

General Overview of the Jury System

In the United States, jury service is a responsibility of citizenship.  In our free society, the jury trial is the ultimate tool for peaceably and fairly resolving disputes.  The goal of a jury trial is simply to do justice.  In a jury trial, the authority to determine the facts and reach a decision rests not with the government, but with a jury, which is a small cross-section of the people in the community.

In the State of Michigan, a jury trial is a matter of right in criminal cases.  In civil law suits, a jury trial is an option available to the parties, but there is a required fee for requesting a jury trial in a civil law suit.  In Michigan, juries are made up of six citizens, except for criminal felonies (offenses in which a convicted defendant may be sentenced to a year of more in prison), which have twelve person juries.

Questions and Answers Regarding Your Service at the 47th District Court

Top of PageHow was I selected for jury service?

The jury selection process is a random process from start to finish.  Initially, your name was among those from Oakland County randomly selected from the State of Michigan drivers’ license and state identification lists.  From the initial pool of juror candidates received from the State, the Oakland County Jury Commission issues qualification and personal history questionnaires to a randomly selected sample.  Upon receipt of the completed qualification questionnaires, the Jury Commission reviews and qualifies potential jurors according to law.  Questionnaires for a random pool of qualified jurors from Farmington and Farmington Hills are then forwarded to the 47th District Court for summonsing.

Top of PageWhat can I expect as a juror at the 47th District Court?

The 47th District Court conducts jury trials during one week each month and uses a “one week – one trial” jury system.  This means that your term of service will last for the duration of the selection process (a maximum of one week, but typically 1 – 3 days) or the duration of one trial if you are seated on a jury.  District Court trials are for misdemeanor criminal offenses (offenses in which a convicted defendant may be sentenced up to a maximum of 1 year in jail) and civil law suits in which the amount in dispute is less than $25,000.   Jury trials for these types of cases generally last anywhere from 1 day to 1 week, although occasionally a trial may continue beyond 1 week.

The 47th District Court has two judges: the Honorable Marla E. Parker and the Honorable James B. Brady.  During a typical jury week, one judge is scheduled with criminal jury trials and the other with civil jury trials.  Jury trials are generally scheduled several months in advance and each judge may have as many as twenty jury trials originally scheduled for a given jury week.  Between the time the cases are scheduled and the actual selection of a jury, the judges do everything they can to resolve the cases short of jury trial.  Many of the cases are resolved by settlement, plea or dismissal, which saves money for the community and time for prospective jurors.  Typically, only a few or the originally scheduled cases are left for each judge on the day of jury selection.

Of those that are left on jury selection day, many reach resolution without an actual jury trial taking place. The fact that the jurors are in the courthouse and ready for selection often drives parties to the realization that reaching an agreement on their own – even with compromise – is more attractive than leaving the decision to an objective third party like a jury.  In other words, your mere presence as a juror helps to resolve disputes, even if you never get in the jury box.

When you arrive at the 47th District Court on the date and time for which you have been summoned, you will be checked in by the jury clerk and provided a juror badge and information manual.  Court staff will provide you with an orientation program outlining specifics about what you can expect when you are sent to the courtroom for selection.

Top of PageIf I have a schedule conflict with when I’ve been summonsed, can I get rescheduled?

If upon receiving your summons you realize you have a scheduling conflict (for example, a pre-purchased or planned vacation, a scheduled medical procedure, a business trip, etc.), contact the 47th District Court Jury Clerk for information on rescheduling your service.  No more than one postponement will be granted.

Top of PageWill serving on jury duty affect my job?

Your employer is required by law to release you for jury service.  An employer who discharges or disciplines or threatens to discharge or discipline an employee because that person is summoned for jury duty may be charged with a misdemeanor and also may be punished for contempt of court.  In addition, an employer may be charged with a misdemeanor if he/she forces an employee to work any number of hours during a day which, in combination with the hours served as a juror that day, exceeds the number of hours normally and customarily worked by the person during a day (unless otherwise provided in a collective bargaining agreement).

Although not mandated by State law, many employers today will continue to pay you during your jury service.  As mandated by law, jurors receive not less than $25/day ($12.50/half day) for the first day of jury service; $40/day for each subsequent day ($20/half day).  Also jurors are paid $0.10 per mile for roundtrip travel from home to the 47th District Court.  Should your employer continue to pay you during jury service, he/she may require you to remit your juror compensation.

Each juror serving at the 47th District Court shall receive a certificate of appreciation signed by the Chief Judge, which may be used for verification of service to your employer.  Should you need additional verification, please contact the Jury Clerk.

Top of PageWhat if I’ve moved? Do I still have to serve?

If you have moved outside the jurisdiction of the 47th District Court (Farmington and Farmington Hills) you may be excused from service by forwarding a copy of your driver’s license with the change of address noted by the Secretary of State’s Office to the Jury Clerk.

 

 

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