How does the Jury Commission obtain names of prospective jurors?
The list of names that is used for jury service is created by a combined list of Sangamon County residents who hold a drivers license, voters registration card, state identification card, and/or a disabled persons identification card. Names are randomly selected from the master list.
I can no longer fulfill my duties as a juror. Can I have my name removed from your records?
Under no circumstances is the Jury Commission allowed to remove an individual’s name. If you feel you are not qualified you may wish to call the Jury Commission to request an excuse for a two year term.
I am not a resident of Sangamon County or a citizen of the United States, may I serve?
No. You must be a Sangamon County resident to serve as a juror in Sangamon County. The law automatically disqualifies residents that are non-citizens.
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 your panel is selected and reports to a courtroom, a process known as voir dire begins. During voir dire, the judge and possibly the attorneys will ask questions to see if you can keep an open mind and be fair. After you have been questioned, you will either be selected or excused from that particular case. If you are selected, you and the other selected jurors will receive instructions from the judge. If you are not selected, you will return to the jury room and may be sent to another courtroom.
How long does jury service usually last if I am a selected juror?
The length of a jury trial depends on the actual case itself. The average length of a jury trial is two to three days.
What type of trials may I be selected to serve on as a juror?
There are basically two types of jury trials, criminal and civil. In a Criminal trial, the jury decides the guilt or innocence of the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt. In a Civil trial, the jury decides whether any monetary damages should be awarded.
Is jury service mandatory?
The United States Constitution and the Illinois State Constitution guarantees the right to trial by jury. Failure to respond to a jury summons may subject you to penalties provided by law. All Sangamon County residents are obligated by state law to serve as a juror unless they are:
- Not a United States citizen
- Not a resident of Sangamon County, Illinois
- Not 18 years of age or older
What is the proper dress attire for jury service?
Jurors should dress comfortably, but properly for a courtroom.
What am I allowed to bring to jury service?
Jury service can require a potential juror to wait a considerable length of time. For this reason, you may want to bring reading material, office work, or lap tops. You may bring a lunch or dine at one of the many restaurants in the downtown area. Jurors may not bring: newspaper, video and audio recorders, cameras, chemical sprays, metal belts, large scissors, knives, or work tools.
What happens if you fail to appear for jury service?
Failure to appear for jury service when summoned is a serious matter. You may be held in contempt of court and could be fined. It is in your best interest to appear if you are summoned to avoid any further court action.
Free parking is located in the county lot located on 9th and Adams. Please bring yellow parking ticket with you for validation. Handicapped parking is also available at this lot.
Are employers required to pay employees while on jury service?
No. An employer is NOT required by law to pay employees who are on jury service. However, many employers do. You need to check with your company's human resources department before serving to see if your company pays your salary for days you are a juror. If you DO receive your salary, your company may require a letter of attendance from the Jury Commission.
How soon after jury service will I receive my juror pay?
Jurors will be paid $15.00 per day plus 10 cents per mile, round trip, according to your zip code. Payment is mailed to your home typically ten to fourteen working days after the completion of your jury service. Your employer may require you to turn in your jury pay.
Does my employer have the right to terminate or penalize me for performing my American right as a juror?
No. Illinois law prohibits an employer from terminating or otherwise penalizing an employee because the employee serves as a juror.
Excuse from Service
May I request an excuse from jury service?
A prospective juror may be excused if he/she: (1) has a physical or mental disability that would prevent him/her from serving; (2) is the sole care giver for another and alternate arrangements are not feasible; (3) is unable to read and or understand the English language; or (4) is member of the active military service.
Each request is individually reviewed. A prospective juror may be required to provide documentation verifying illness/disability and/or military service. Potential jurors are encouraged to express their request truthfully and to the best of their knowledge. Failure to do so is against the law. Jury service is a citizen's civic duty and responsibility.
I am unable to judge anyone because of my moral or religious beliefs. May I be excused?
Illinois law does not provide for an excuse from jury service for moral or religious beliefs. You are still required to appear for jury service. During the voir dire, the trial judge will decide.
I know that I will not be selected to be on a jury because of my career, my relative,s and or my friends. May I be excused?
You are still required to report for jury service. A trial judge will decide if you should be excused.
Is deferment of jury service an option?
The Jury Commission realizes prospective jurors may have been summoned at an inconvenient time. Our office is willing to defer service to a more convenient time in most instances. Jurors may request a one-time deferment after being summoned. Subsequent deferments are not allowed unless it is an extreme emergency.