Frequently Asked Questions
1. What do I do if I have a medical problem and I don't feel that I would be able to serve?
To be excused from jury duty for a medical reason, a letter must be submitted from your physician stating that you are unable to serve. This letter should be returned with your questionnaire no later than three weeks before your assigned week of service. These letters are forwarded to the presiding judge for consideration and you will receive verification if you are excused.
If you are permanently disabled, please be certain that your physician includes that information when writing your letter. If your physician does not specify a permanent condition your name may be drawn again the following year.
If you do not return your physician's note with your original questionnaire due to time considerations you are welcome to submit it via email the Jury Clerk.
2. What can I do if I don't hear well and I am afraid I will miss significant testimony?
Individuals with hearing problems should participate in the jury selection so that they can hear the acoustics in the courtroom. If they cannot hear properly at that time they should advise the judge or bailiff and they will be excused.
3. What about work?
By law, and employer cannot fire, discipline or threaten such action against an employee who is summoned for jury duty or chosen to serve on a jury, even for a long trial. Nor can employers force a worker to go beyond normal hours to make up for time spent on jury service. An employer who takes these actions could be guilty of a misdemeanor or held in contempt of court.
600.1348 Jurors; threats, discharge, or discipline by employer; requiring additional hours of work; misdemeanor; penalty.
(1) An employer or the employer's agent, who threatens to discharge or discipline or who discharges, disciplines, or causes to be discharged from employment or to be disciplined a person because that person is summoned for jury duty, serves on a jury, or has served on a jury, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and may also be punished for contempt of court.
4. I am a college student, do I still have to serve and miss classes?
If you are a college student, please provide verification that you will be in school during the time you are on call for jury duty. With verification, your jury service could be changed to a month when you are available.
5. I am a nursing mother. Do I have to serve?
If the child is not taking any supplemental feedings, a letter must be submitted by the pediatrician for you to be excused. If you do not return your physician's note with your original questionnaire due to time considerations you are welcome to submit it via email to Jury Clerk.
6. I have small children and don't have a sitter. Do you provide daycare?
Day care services are not available at the courthouse. Jurors are notified several weeks in advance of their week of jury service and this should give you ample time to locate a sitter or a daycare center who you are comfortable with.
7.What does it pay?
Under Michigan law, jurors are paid as follows:
Length of Duty Pay
First Half Day $15.00
First Full Day $30.00
Subsequent Half Days $22.50
Subsequent Full Days $45.00
Jurors also receive mileage for their trips to and from court. Prospective jurors who are not selected to sit on a trial are still paid for their participation.
8. What if I don't show up?
You can be held in contempt of court, fined or even jailed.
9. Are there exemptions?
People over 70 may be exempted from service if they choose to do so.
You may be called for jury duty more than once, but you may only serve as a seated juror once per year. If you have served as a juror in a court outside of Shiawassee County and wish to claim this exemption we will require documentation to excuse you.
10. I was convicted of a felony, can I still serve?
No, you may not serve. Complete your questionnaire accordingly. If you have been convicted in Shiawassee County, jury staff will search our records to verify conviction. If you were convicted in another county or state we require proof of sentencing to be forwarded for consideration. If you do not return your documentation along with your original questionnaire due to time considerations you are welcome to submit it via email to Jury Clerk.
11. I served less than one year ago, do I have to serve again?
Jurors who have served less than 12 months ago are not required to serve. While we have procedures in place ensuring that jurors are not called twice in a 12-month period, people occasionally slip through because of name or identification number changes. If you served outside of Shiawassee County (In a state, federal, or other County's court) we require documentation to excuse you.
12. Why am I called every year and I know people who have never been called?
Juror information is provided to us by the Secretary of State Office in Lansing. These names are taken from the driver's license and state ID card listing which the Secretary of State's Office maintains. Names are then randomly selected by computer system.
13. I live in another state during the winter months and I won't be in Michigan during any of the months in my quarter. What should I do?
Please advise us of which months you will be available to serve.
14. 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. Jury service is one of the most important duties that members of a free society are called upon to perform.
15. What Is My Duty As A Juror?
As a juror, you must be fair and impartial. Your actions and decisions must be free of any bias or prejudice. Your actions and decisions are the foundation of our judicial system.
16. How Was I Selected?
Potential jurors are selected randomly from the State of Michigan Driver's License List and Personal Identification Cardholder list for individuals residing in Shiawassee County. The selection method is designed to produce a cross section of the community. Men and women over 18 years of age and from all walks of life have an equal opportunity to be called for jury service.
17. Who Is Qualified To Serve?
To be qualified, you must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be a citizen of the United States
- Be able to speak and understand English
- Be a resident of Shiawassee County
- Have not served in District or Circuit Court in the past 12 months
- Have not been convicted of a felony
18. Who Can Be Excused From Jury Service?
- Those who are 70 years of age or older and do not want to serve
- Generally speaking, other excuses are not considered, except for those who have their doctor fax an excuse for health-related reasons. Excuses should specify whether the health-related reasons are short-term or lifelong disabilities.
- Full-time, year round students must submit a copy of the class schedule that indicates that they are in class during the day. Full-time students who do not attend in the summer will be deferred (postponed) to a summer Term.
19. Why am I called every year and I know people who have never been called?
Juror information is provided to us by the Secretary of State Office in Lansing. These names are taken from the driver's license and state ID card listing which the Secretary of State's Office maintains. Names are then randomly selected by computer system
20. How Do I Know When To Report For Jury Duty?
You are not required to be at the Courts every day for your week of service. You will be required to attend on Tuesday if the trial is not cancelled. You will know on the Monday before of each scheduled trial date if you are required to appear. The recorded message will explain which juror panel(s) and at which Court and time you are to appear.
21. What If The Trial Is Canceled?
You do not have to report for your date of service. This means you have fulfilled your requirement for jury service for that week. You are only required to call in Monday; trials will not be scheduled to start on Wednesday through Friday.
22. What Happens If I Do Not Show For Jury Duty?
You will be sent an Order to Show Cause. This form will order you to report before a Circuit Court Judge to show cause why you should not be held in contempt of court for failing to appear for jury service. If you fail to appear for the Show Cause hearing, a bench warrant will be issued for your arrest and you can be fined or sent to jail.
23. What Are The Different Types of Cases?
Jury trials may be scheduled for criminal, civil and family cases (child protective and delinquency), and probate matters.
24. What If I No Longer Reside In Shiawassee County?
If you no longer live in Shiawassee County, a request for excusal To Be Made In Writing may be submitted and mailed to the address that appears on your summons. Change of Residency proof (license, house deed, etc) must accompany your request to be excused.
25. Must My Employer Pay Me While I Am On Jury Service?
Your employer is not required to pay you while on jury service. However, employers are prohibited by law from firing, disciplining, or threatening an employee for serving as a juror.
26. What If I Have An Emergency?
If there is a grave illness in your family, or an equally serious problem that would constitute an undue hardship or extreme inconvenience for you to appear in court on the dates specified, you must notify the jury coordinator in writing as soon as possible.
27. What If I Have An Appointment Or Vacation Scheduled?
If you have an appointment or vacation scheduled, please submit the dates to the jury coordinator as soon as possible to allow ample time for your request to be processed. DO NOT WAIT UNTIL A FEW DAYS BEFORE YOUR PANEL IS CALLED. Please send supporting documentation of your vacation or scheduled appointment with your written request. Examples include airline ticket vouchers, hotel/campground reservations or appointment cards. If these items are not received, a letter will be sent to you requesting this documentation and your request will not be processed until further documentation is received.