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Jury Information and FAQs

Frequently asked questions regarding jury service in the 242nd District Court:

Why is jury service important?

The right to a jury trial is one of the most important freedoms we have in this country. That freedom cannot be realized without good citizens who are willing to give their time to serve on juries. To learn more about the importance of jury service, go to the website americanjuror.org and watch the videos.

If I have a conflict with the date I am to report, may I change it?

Yes. You may ask for one change to a more convenient time. Call the Court Coordinator and tell them about your conflict. They will assign you to a different panel.

Can I change the date of service more than once?

Not ordinarily, unless the change is needed because of an emergency or unusual situation.

Can I get excused if I need to work?

Under the law, the Court cannot excuse you for an economic reason unless both attorneys agree. If both attorneys agree and there are enough jurors, you may be able to be excused.

What should I do if I really need to work on the date of the summons?

You can ask for one change of the date which hopefully will be to a more convenient time or you may appear at the time and date summoned and ask for a hardship excuse.

What is considered a hardship excuse?

It depends, but usually some reason that it would be uncommonly difficult or hard for you to serve. Inconvenience or needing to work will not ordinarily be enough since most everyone serving is inconvenienced or needs to work.

What if I am disqualified from jury service or if I want to claim an exemption?

The qualifications and exemptions are printed on the summons. If you are disqualified, or you wish to claim an exemption, circle the reason you are disqualified, or entitled to an exemption, sign the summons, and mail or take it to the District Clerk.

What if I am disqualified or have a hardship and don't return my summons?

You will receive a letter imposing a fine. To claim a disqualification or exemption, you must do so by returning your summons properly completed and signed, or personally appear for service and assert your disqualification or claim your exemption at that time.

I didn't get the summons until after the date to appear. What should I do?

Call the District Clerk and tell them what happened. They will add your name to another jury panel. The fine for not appearing will be waived if you appear on the new date.

What is the fine for not appearing?

$ 100.00.

What happens if I don't appear?

You will receive a letter imposing the fine of $ 100.00.

What happens if I don't pay the fine?

You will receive a notice to appear before the Court to show cause why you should not be held in contempt.

What happens at the show cause hearing?

The Judge may impose a fine between $250.00 up to $ 1,000.00.

How long does jury service usually last?

If you are not chosen to serve on a jury, usually you will be excused before noon on the day you are summoned. You may be required to return for a second case later in the same week.

How long will I serve if I am chosen for a jury?

Most cases take two days. Of course, some are shorter and some may last longer. The Judge will tell you what to expect when you are in court.

Do I get paid for jury service?

Yes. For your first day of service the pay is $ 7.00 if you are not chosen for a jury, and $ 10.00 if you are chosen. If you serve on a jury for a second day or longer, the pay is $ 40.00 per day.

Does my employer have to pay me for the time off from work during jury service?

Texas law does not require your employer to pay you while you are on jury duty but does provide that your employer may not fire you, discriminate against you, or take any adverse action against you because you were fulfilling your jury duty.

I've never been on a jury. What's it all about?

A jury decides the disputed facts in a case and, in a criminal case, may decide the punishment for a crime.

What if I have a medical emergency right before jury service?

Call the District Clerk's office and let them know.

I am disabled. Can I serve on a jury?

Yes. All facilities are accessible.

I have a medical condition that makes it hard for me to serve, so I would like to be excused. What do I need to do?

Get a written note from your doctor and bring or send it to the District Clerk.

Is it important to complete the juror questionnaire and send it in?

Yes. Having the questionnaire before the trial begins, allows the lawyers to have the information beforehand, so the time during voir dire is shortened, saving the jury panel time.

I don't like sending out my personal information. How is it protected?

The information is not public record information, the lawyers are prohibited from copying the information and are required to return the questionnaires to the Clerk at the end of voir dire.

What is voir dire?

At the beginning of the trial, the lawyers are allowed to ask jury panelists questions concerning the panelist's background, experiences, and any feelings they may have about the type of case on trial to try to determine if a panelist can be a fair and impartial juror in that particular trial. That is the voir dire process.

My question about jury service has not been answered above. How can I ask another question?

Send an email to the court.